Warm and fuzzy

The newly-minted Acous­ticMa­nia se­ries cap­tures home­grown hope­fuls un­der the No Black Tie spot­light.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - MOVIES - By WAR­REN CHAN

The newly-minted Acous­tic Ma­nia se­ries cap­tures home­grown hope­fuls un­der the No Black Tie spot­light.

LO­CAL acous­tic song-smith­ery has cer­tainly been on a healthy up­swing in re­cent times. Prac­ti­tion­ers of bu­colic, con­fes­sional, heart-on-sleeve ex­hor­ta­tions seem to be find­ing no lack of av­enues and au­di­ences for their cre­ative out­put. Af­ter all, it is a scene that has spawned such grass­roots suc­cess sto­ries as Yuna and Zee Avi.

Live venue No Black Tie in Kuala Lumpur and event or­gan­iser Moon­shine surely recog­nise its value and are lend­ing their full sup­port in co-or­gan­is­ing the two-day Acous­tic Ma­nia event this Sun­day and Mon­day. Ac­cord­ing to No Black Tie pro­pri­etor Eve­lyn Hii, the venue has had a long tra­di­tion of high­light­ing singer-song­writ­ers and Acous­tic Ma­nia will in­tro­duce au­di­ences to a di­verse se­lec­tion of 12 of the finest out there. The in­tended vibe is the “shar­ing and ex­chang­ing of mu­si­cal thoughts and ideas, and rev­el­ling in each oth­ers’ mu­sic.”

Moon­shine’s main man Reza Salleh says that the two-day set-up is a nat­u­ral fit for the in­flux of new singer-song­writer tal­ent out there, so fresh­ness is def­i­nitely on the menu. A di­verse ar­ray of chan­nels was open to Reza for the new dis­cov­er­ies – from YouTube to mu­tual ac­quain­tances and ex­po­sure at other events.

Acous­tic Ma­nia it­self will be pre­sented in a “song­writ­ers’ round” for­mat which sees acts on stage to­gether tak­ing turns to per­form their ma­te­rial – an ar­range­ment that has done well to en­cour­age in­ter­ac­tion be­tween acts and the au­di­ences them­selves.

Acous­tic Ma­nia’s first night will be an­chored by Reza him­self as a per­former, who’s in the midst of pre­par­ing his lon­gawaited de­but al­bum for re­lease. Im­pres­sively, the man has over 10 years of ma­te­rial to choose from for the show.

Other high­lights in­clude new­comer Narmi, who may be bet­ter known as Im­ran Fadzil, drum­mer for high-oc­tane pop punkers One Buck Short. He has come into his own as a solo per­former. The idea had been in the works for a few years, but came to fruition when Reza booked Im­ran for a show af­ter see­ing him do his thing at One Buck Short front­man Mooky’s wed­ding.

Half­way Kings are also a duo of new faces who’ve gar­nered at­ten­tion for their quirky sense of hu­mour and a pen­chant for record­ing live videos at un­likely out­door lo­ca­tions. Ex­pect their tunes to “kick a** in three min­utes or less.” Fi­nally on the first night,

In the line-up are (from left) Reza Salleh, Dian­dra Ar­ju­naidi, Liyana Fizi and Half­way Kings, fea­tur­ing Ade­line Chua and Joachim Se­bas­tian. we’ll also be see­ing As­mi­dar (for­merly of The Glance) and vet­eran Zalila Lee hit­ting the stage some heady orig­i­nals.

The sec­ond night of Acous­tic Ma­nia will be no less en­gag­ing, es­pe­cially with the unique mu­si­cal per­spec­tives of ex­pats David Knight and Farai Hugh­grie. Trans­planted from his na­tive Cal­i­for­nia to Kuala Lumpur for awhile now, Knight has been wow­ing lo­cal au­di­ences with his richly lay­ered, emo­tion­ally com­plex acous­tic-elec­tronic com­po­si­tions, draw­ing favourable com­par­isons to ev­ery­one from Jeff Buck­ley to Boards of Canada. ICOM stu­dent Farai Hugh­grie him­self hails from Zim­babwe and of­fers a re­fresh­ing fu­sion of West­ern­in­flu­enced in­die pop shot through an African lens.

Else­where, we also have Aiqa Halim and Dian­dra Ar­ju­naidi, who rep­re­sents the new guard of fe­male singer-song­writ­ers who draw from a va­ri­ety of R&B, jazz, and pop tra­di­tions, all wrapped up in a bun­dle of war­mand-fuzzy sen­si­bil­i­ties that should go down well with lis­ten­ers with gen­tler pref­er­ences.

Acous­tic Ma­nia will also fea­ture soul crooner Na­jwa, who’ll be strip­ping down her ma­te­rial to just pi­ano and acous­tic gui­tar ac­com­pa­ni­ment. Ac­cord­ing to Na­jwa, she’s also look­ing for­ward to the op­por­tu­nity for greater au­di­ence in­ter­ac­tion, some­thing that’s rarely ex­pe­ri­enced at other for­mal, cor­po­rate events that she per­forms at.

Liyana Fizi may well be the old hand of the night, but as far as she’s concerned it’s a fresh start as a solo per­former away from her old out­fit Estrella. Her new com­pact acous­tic duo

Aiqa Halim and Na­jwa (pic left) will add to the ma­nia, too. line-up also ap­pears to be a bet­ter fit with her lovely bossa nova pop aes­thetic and she looks set to im­press dur­ing the night as well.

All in all, Acous­tic Ma­nia should be an­other pos­i­tive step to­wards the cul­ti­va­tion of a vi­brant singer-song­writer com­mu­nity.

The scene’s vi­tal­ity is pretty ev­i­dent as Reza him­self un­der­scores the in­gre­di­ents for suc­cess: “A con­tin­u­ous pres­ence of qual­ity acts and shows that help sig­nify a healthy scene and reg­u­lar open mics that al­low for ev­ery­one to par­tic­i­pate and de­velop them­selves from the bot­tom up.” n No Black Tie & Moon­shine presents Acous­tic Ma­nia, which runs for two nights on Sun­day and Mon­day. Show­time is 9pm. Cover charge is RM20 (per show). Venue ad­dress: No Black Tie, 17 Jalan Me­sui, off Jalan Na­gasari, Kuala Lumpur. For book­ings, call % 03-2142 3737 (af­ter 5pm). Browse (http://www.face­book.com/ moon­shine.kl).

On with the show:

Starry, starry night:

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