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Cita Seni: Songs of History



A forum with Datin Saidah Rastam featuring Azlan M Said and Juffri Supa’at

Songs of History is a forum that brings music composer, compiler and writer to deliberate on the significance of songs in the crucial moments of history of the Malay-Indonesian world. Indeed songs bring memories to many, and it is almost impossible to imagine the domain of a cultural life without its distinctive songs. The cultural history of the people, especially in the modern era, is marked by the accompaniment of various cultural symbols and icons. Songs is certainly one of them.

This forum will engage the themes of pioneering song composers, the endeavours of writing the history of songs, and most importantly, making sense of some selected songs attested in history-making and witnessing. 

The forum will be conducted in English.


Saidah Rastam has composed music for theatre, film dance and TV, for gamelan, martial artists, choral groups, Chinese opera singers, orchestras and electronica. She was the music director for the launch of the Petronas Twin Towers. She has lectured in music at Akademi Seni Kebangsaan, UITM, Cenfad and the Multimedia University. As a Senior Fellow of Khazanah Nasional Berhad, in 2014, her book Rosalie and Other Love Songs was published as part of a preservation project on Malayan music. The second edition of the book will be published in August 2017, as well as its Bahasa Melayu translation, Rosalie dan Lagu-lagu Cinta SelainnyaMalam Terang Bulan, a show she created and directed, was staged in both 2014 and 2015 at the Dewan Filharmonik Petronas. Saidah is trained as a barrister (Gray’s Inn).


Juffri is a Senior Librarian with the National Library, Singapore. He has curated several exhibitions featuring the works of Malay literary pioneers such as Masuri S. N., Muhammad Ariff Ahmad and Abdul Ghani Hamid. He has also compiled poetry selections by Muhammad Ariff Ahmad and Suratman Markasan and also the bibliography of Singapore Malay Literature.


Azlan is a Graphics Designer who started his broadcasting career in 1993 when he joined Asia Business News and later CNBC Asia in 1997. Since 2004, Azlan has been with Channel News Asia. In March 2013, he published his debut book, Musika : Malaya's Early Music Scene followed by Rosli Mohalim: Journey In Rock ​in October 2016. His research work still continues till today and every new discovery he found about the exciting and vibrant music scenes of the yesteryears constantly ​intrigues and fascinates him.

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