THE arts often reflect the mood, worries and the voice of the people. Some may be hits, like The Bigger Picture by Lil Baby, a song that became the theme for the Black Lives Matter movement and sentiment in the US. Some are misses, like Imagine sung by a collage of rich celebrities in their multi-million dollar mansions while the rest of the world faces the pandemic.
This idea of healthy dissent and satire in arts was why Azmyl Yunor recently launched a music video for his latest single, Penghasut Blues (Instigator Blues), now available on YouTube.
“Offstage, a lot of musicians are actually woke and critical of what’s going on, but decades of self-censorship has pushed a lot of our creative voices into a corner in order to keep our rice bowls and it has become common sense to the subsequent generations,” said Azmyl.
“Don’t bother about the mainstream music industry – they’re more interested in exploiting and selling trends. It’s all fluff, no substance. Real-life is more interesting than any fiction – why not leverage on what we find ourselves mired in and turn it into something worthwhile and enjoy the creative process instead? Someone has to be the jester who unveils the pretence and I’ll gladly play it once in a while since no one else is willing to step up.“
The term ‘penghasut’ or ‘instigator’ was used by the former government, so it was serendipitous that the music video was released while there are ongoing corruption cases and charges against former national leaders.
The Penghasut Blues music video is Azmyl’s second collaboration with film director We Jun, who also did the Charity Lane video that features a cameo by Liyana Fizi.
John Bangi Blues, the 10-song album from which the song came, took only three hours to record in a live session and features Ammar Khairi (The Maharajah Commission) on drums and Kristopher Chong (Salammusik) on bass, and was produced by Ariff Akhir. It is available digitally on bandcamp at azmyl.bandcamp.com.