Filed under: Brunei
I’ve been meaning to update the previous post on Kugiran Irama Perindu for some time now, but I figured I’d just do a whole new post. Over the past year or so, I’ve been corresponding with Merv Espina – my contact for Brunei. Merv has been researching Gema Dari Menara (Voice from the Minaret) – the only motion picture produced in Brunei. In the process, our research has overlapped uncovering Brunei’s lost rock and roll history.
In 1962, A. M. Azahari was the leader of the Parti Rakyat Brunei – or Brunei People’s Party. PRB rejected the proposed federation with Malaysia. This opposition led to the failed Brunei Rebellion, which resulted in a strict curfew period from 1962 to 1965. During that time, many musicians moved to Singapore – which would explain why almost all of the earlier records from Brunei were on the Olympic label. But between lifting of the curfew in 1965 and Pengiran Kamaluddin, who was also responsible for initiating Gema Dari Menara‘s production, stepping down as the head of Department of Religious Affairs in the 1970s, there was a small window. It was during that brief period that rock and roll happened in Brunei.
There were only two bands in Brunei: Dendang Teruna and Kugiran Irama Perindu. There were also a few musicians who recorded with bands from Malaysia and Singapore – like Hussen Hj Tuah. But Dendang Teruna – to the best of anyone’s knowledge – never recorded. They did perform regularly on Brunei Radio and were featured in the film Gema Dari Menara (as seen in this still from the video transfer). But, Kugiran Irama Perindu recorded three singles before Dayangku Aminah left the band to go solo.
The personnel of Kugiran Irama Perindu – as seen on the cover of their first single – is as follows: Standing up, wearing the white jackets is Jafar – whose last name or title is unknown (bass) and Sari Hj Besar (guitar). Seated is Norsiah A. Hamid (vocals), Awangku Tajuddin (vocals), Awangku Yussof (drums) and Dayangku Aminah (vocals). A quick note about Brunei honorific titles: Awangku (Ak), for the men, and Dayangku (Dk), for the women, are titles bestowed on unmarried individuals connected to the royal bloodline. Once married, they adopt the title Pengiran (Pg). All of the members of the band were all single when the first Kugiran Irama Perindu EP came out, but soon after Pg Tajuddin married Norsiah A. Hamid. They both recorded – together and separately – with The Sandpipers, The Sand Blues and Kugiran Irama Perindu. The couple are featured on the cover on this single.
Catalog number T.R.C. 1051 on Olympic Records of Singapore. No release date given.