(I asked Singaporeans around. If you remember Halloween do you remember the Singapore and Malaysian Pontianak? We even have a pop song about this Hantu-ween creature sung by well-known singer Ahmad Daud from the 60s. Read on.)
This posting is conducted by the Singapore *Hantu Heritage Project:
It is with some trepidation that I write this post. Halloween is around the corner and I wonder if it is wise to write about spiritual beings that could be hovering around us soon since the big day is on October 31st.
Most followers who read literature on ghosts and spirits are well aware what Halloween is about and those who live in the Asian region would probably be familiar with a similar theme, the Chinese with their Ghost Month or Seventh Moon Festival and the Malays and Indonesians with the Pontianak legend (from 'bunting-anak' spirits of females who die in pregnancy) and Hantu Jerangkong stories (tall and gangly ghosts).
|Image 1: 'Pontianak' Legend|
Since this is a music blog I thought it would be appropriate if I discuss a popular Malay song from the mid 60s. This particular pop yeah yeah composition is relevant to the theme. It is sung by **Ahmad Daud and backed by The Swallows (yes, I sang with them before Ahmad Daud did).
This song comes from the Malay movie, Pusaka Pontianak (1965) directed by Ramon A. Estella and starred Ahmad Mahmud, Saadiah, Aziz Sattar, Ibrahim Pendek, Ahmad Nesfu and Salleh Kamil. These actors and the series of Pontianak movies attracted crowds to the cinemas in the 60s.
Together with Ahmad Daud who sang the lyrics, Malay comedians Ibrahim Pendek (Shorty), Aziz Sattar and Ahmad Nesfu combined talent and lip-synced their way through Dendang Pontianak (Rhythm of the Pontianak) from the EP with similar title.
It has a twist and shake beat with do-wop backing composed by Singaporean composer/musician Kassim Masdor. Apparently this particular Pontianak film did not do well at the box office but I found the lyrics funny indeed. The song is a humorous dedication to the Pontianak and composed in its honour. So Horror + Humour = Halloween.
|Image 3: EP Sleeve Cover: Ahmad Daud with Malay comedians.|
One reader Lysha Dato Haji Ali remarked on You Tube, "To me it's a great song... who says the Malay do not know how to have fun... in the 60's they did... these days...geez... everything is way too complicated..."
|Image 4: Twist n Shake with Pontianak during Halloween.|
Another viewer said, "Ini Rockabilly Melayu untuk Halloween..." while a third You Tube surfer yelled: "Bloody brilliant! Best rock n roll Malay song ever recorded."
And I certainly agree. HAPPY HANTU-WEEN everyone!
(30.10.2012: The latest news reports today. And a serious one. Nearer to Halloween in the eastern coast of the US, the biggest monster is drifting inland... more deadly than Frankenstein. FRANKENSTORM is here! And 66 people have already died.)