I thought I had lost the album (image) but after a thorough search last night I found the LP between Bing Crosby and David Seville's Chipmunks. So here he is, the man who was a regular face on Singapore television in the 70s.
I remember him well but didn't realise he was a Malaysian from Bricksfield, Kuala Lumpur until I read about him some years ago in the newspapers. Last year, in my usual search for vinyls, I came across his Christmas album at a record dealer. So, for those who's never heard of Kamahl, a posting as a present, the second one this season after Turn, Turn, Turn.
Kandiah Kamalesvaran of Sri Lankan heritage, was born in Malaysia in 1934 and studied at Victoria School. When Rupert Murdoch heard him sing, the tycoon spurred him to move to Sydney where he became a successful artiste. After his first public coencert in 1958 he was encouraged to sing in pubs and clubs all over Australia.
To Carnegie Hall:
His magic moment came when he became one of the first few artistes to appear at the Sydney Opera House. Since then he had sung at a Royal Command Performance in Brisbane, at Carnegie Hall and at the London Palladium. His singles and albums sold in the US, Commonwealth countries and Europe, having cut records under the Philips, Mercury, EMI and other labels.
Kamahl had his first album in 1967 with A Voice To Remember. The title was prophetic because fans love and remember his deep, operatic voice, booming out pop songs that others could only croon. There was Dreams Of Love (1969), a gold hit and recognizably, End Of A Rainbow (1974). The World Wildlife Fund documentary had a song on its soundtrack by Kamahl which became a hit in 1975. An Australian citizen now, he had pressed more than a dozen albums.
For Peace and Happiness:
He had a message for his listeners on his Christmas album, "The Summer of '75 has been the summer of my life - thanks to the Elephant Song. May I wish you peace and happiness. Kamahl."
(Philips 6357 035. Christmas With Kamahl. Side One: Silent Night, Both Sides Now, Mary's Boy Child, Through The Eyes Of A Child, All I Have To Offer You (Is Me), I've Gotta Be Me. Side Two: White Christmas, I Could Try, How Small We Are, How Little We Know, Vincent, Sunrise Sunset, The Holy City.)
Why Are People So Unkind?
During a stage introduction, an Australian MC carelessly called him, camel, so he changed his name from Kamal to Kamahl. He had always been teased about his name and skin colour but he always had the same question for them, "Why are people so unkind?" Yes, why?
Wake Up S. E. Asian Composers:
It's a great pity that local musicians are not composing new songs so older generation singers like Kamahl and others can record them. No market I suppose? It's so sad since the cultural scene in South East Asia and the region is so varied and colourful.
Only the Indian continent and its Bollywood enterprise are able to challenge the Western music scene. Bhangra especially, with its dizzy, upbeat rhythm has been able to attract the youths in Los Angeles and the U.S. Why not Singapore's?
Meeting President Obama and PM Julia Gillard (PRWeb).
November 16, 2011.
Updated posting: 15th December, 2015. (images and comments only).
Image/Original Article: Andy Lim.