Music is not just for entertainment, but could also be a platform for uniting multiracial and multi-religious communities across the world.
This is what a group of five multiracial Malaysian youths who call themselves ‘Colour of Voices’ (COV) is trying to promote and inculcate among Malaysians.
The five – Asnal, 27; Joe, 26; Ikhwan, 25; Jaswan, 27; and Tux, 25; – have come up with an a cappella song that portrays the beauty of Malaysia and harmony of its plural society.
Asnal whose full name is Asnal Nashriq Khirrudin, from Gombak, said COV often injected the 1Malaysia spirit into their music with the hope of fostering unity among Malaysians.
He said COV started gaining public attention after the video of its medley in Mandarin during the Chinese New Year celebration, was uploaded on YouTube and viewed over 600,000 times by netizens early this year.
“Most of us in COV could not speak Mandarin at all, so to make the video clip we learnt how to pronounce the lyrics from Tux and his Chinese friends.
“From that, we learned a lot about the history, customs and meaning behind the festive songs. In fact, we even wore Chinese traditional attire in the video and when performing the song,” he said when recalling the making of the video clip.
Asnal said all the effort put into their music was worthwhile as the video clip received positive feedback from various levels of society.
“Many netizens commented that they felt overwhelmed and proud of the video as it symbolises the unity among Malaysians,” he shared.
Asnal said the idea of injecting the 1Malaysia concept came about spontaneously in 2014 when he and his friends were planning to form an a cappella music group.
“To complete the group, we tried to find a beatboxer and met Tux via YouTube, while we got to know Joe through our network of friends in other a cappella groups who happened to be non-Malays.
“After being together for quite some time and having people start to get to know us as a multiracial group, we were inspired and raring to use music as a medium to further unite Malaysians,” he recalled.
He said COV wished to have more collaboration with local singers from various races to highlight and spread the 1Malaysia spirit that was mooted and promoted by Prime Minister Najib Razak.
“In conjunction with the recent Merdeka Day celebration, we invited singer Gordon Pereira (of Indian origin) to sing Tanggal 31, originally sung by the late Sudirman Haji Arshad.
Asnal noted that carrying the a cappella genre which was still rather new in Malaysia was a big challenge as the music depended entirely on their vocals.
“We are trying to commercialise this genre to inspire others to further develop it like in neighbouring countries, where they have their own a cappella community.”
Meanwhile, he said, COV would continue to make more music videos with the theme based on the festivals celebrated by Malaysia’s ethnic communities with their next project soon, to be the Deepavali celebration in October.