The anthem that inspired a nation
A TASMANIAN music student has written a song that has captivated the international sporting stage.
Mia Palencia, a Conservatorium of Music PhD student, has recently returned from the opening ceremony of the Southeast Asian Games — where she sang the opening-night theme song.
The song, which she also wrote and composed, was performed in front of 87,000 people at the opening ceremony in Kuala Lumpur.
The stirring anthem continues to entrance millions in Asia, and has made Malaysia’s top-10 list of patriotic songs.
She has now been invited to compose for a musical about the glories of Malaysia’s national soccer team when it entered the 1980 Moscow Olympics.
“It’s just amazing how this has snowballed,” Ms Palencia said.
The songwriter was invited to submit a song for the 29th Southeast Asian Games, which were held last month, by a Malaysian production company. The Games hosted 11 nations in more than 400 events from August 19-30.
Her composition, So Many Hands, was selected by the Ministry of Sport in Malaysia and the Hobart student was flown to the Games to perform live.
“It was amazing and terrifying at the same time,” she said. “It’s not every day that you get to perform in front of 87,000 people.”
The song is a tribute to the unsung heroes in elite sports, from family through to coaches. “Often when we watch sports as spectators, we are focused on the game and the players,” she said. “The reality is that countless and tireless hours of training and many unseen faces would have supported the athlete over many years for them to arrive at that defining moment. “This led me to the concept of So Many Hands as a reference to all the many hands that ‘carried’ the person to that moment.” Ms Palencia grew up in Malaysia and moved to Hobart eight years ago, because her husband is Tasmanian and the Tasmanian Conservatorium of Music was one of the first to offer a songwriting degree. She said writing songs in Tasmania had been a help for her creativity, because of the quieter atmosphere and the plethora of great artists on the island.
“Things can still happen from little old Hobart, in fact I’d say it’s better here,” she said.
“We have amazing musicians and studios here [and] while Hobart is small, it doesn’t lack for creativity”.
Conservatorium of Music director Associate Professor Andrew Legg congratulated Mia on her achievement.
“I watched the event live, and was completely convinced that Mia’s performance was remarkable, totally inspiring and absolutely world-class,” he said.