Mr Ramon, pop yeah-yeah veteran, had passed away on 10th February, 2015 according to a Malay newspaper report. He was 69 years young. (This is a third death announcement these two weeks.)
Ramon or M. Rahmat as he was called was a professional in every sense. He was one of a few pop 60s music makers who could both sing and actually entertain. Songs he performed would belong to him that magic moment, as he interpreted them in his own way. I used to watch his stage acts many times both in the nightclubs and at the theaters around Singapore.
Whether it was at the National Theater, the Neptune, the Elizabeth Hotel or at a small charity show in a home for the aged, his act was always absorbing, honest and he gave his all. Most importantly he was entertaining and the audience listened since he could sing in French, Spanish and even Japanese.
In 1967 he sang with THE BLACKJACKS and became Ramon Rahmat. His popularity mushroomed and Mr Ramon had been to Jakarta, Surabaya, Japan and even Pakistan to perform before returning in 1976. Versatility was the key word for our talented man as he rendered jazz and blues in Malay too. In 1972 he even acted in a Malay movie.
THE CANDIDATES had Ramon in the group where they played to capacity crowds at the Kelong in Cathay Restaurant. Two other 'candidates' i remember were Danny Koh and Leo Fernando.
When I met him again it was only a few years ago at a charity concert as we shared the same stage accompanied by the Silver Strings and together with Max Surin, had much fun singing and talking about old times between appearances and afterwards.
We have lost yet another great musician and another 60s pop culture icon. I have a few of his records. Would be great listening to these vinyls again. Rest well my friend. You deserve that peace now.
"Any day now, any day now, I shall be released..."
Images: Personal Collection and Berita Harian by Karim Iskandar.