Artistic Director's Note
Around the World in 80 Minutes is Irama Tanah Air’s (ITA) first full formal concert. Formed at the end of 2020, we are an ensemble of musicians, educators, composers who started out as friends many, many years ago, became occasional colleagues (as we each have full-time commitments) and will forever be a family. We have worked together individually at different times for different projects some of which are ‘SATU’ (an original composition released online) in 2020, ‘Bald and Beautiful 4.0’ (for which we composed the theme song for this cancer support program), ‘Sejahtera Malaysia’ (for Malaysia Day 2021) and ‘A Better Tomorrow’ (an online collaboration for the people during the pandemic) in 2021…
To me banding together was always a logical path forward in order for us to have a mature, multi-instrumentalist, enormous talent platform to play great music. We play both existing classics or favorites from all over the world by rearranging and adapting them to our techniques and styles of playing. We replace certain instruments with our own carefully selected instrument such as replacing the accordion with the harmonica in ‘Libertango’ by Astor Piazolla, the violin with the erhu in Shostakovich’s ‘Jazz Suite, Waltz No.2’, the violin with the harmonica in ‘Duelling Violins’ by Ronan Hardiman and the Japanese taiko drums with the shigu in Yu-Peng Chan’s ‘Duel in the Mist’. This infuses our identities into these songs making it “our own” at the same time expressing what we experience when listening to those classics. Original compositions are also something we are working on and hope to perform at music festivals all over the world.
In 80 minutes, you will travel on the ‘Wings of Light’ from Malaysia, waltz with Shostakovich, be enthralled by Anna Karina’s quaint Angela in ‘Une Femme est Une Femme’, gently let go of your anger/past in Thailand’s ‘Loy Krathong’, be reminded of the strength of love a parent has for a children in Freddie Aguilar’s ‘Anak’, have your heart rocked by India’s heart-stirring ‘Kuch Kuch Hota Hai’, feel the stirrings of a battle cry in Japan’s ‘Duel in the Mist’, witness and feel the energy of a Celtic dual in the ‘Duelling Violins’, be taken away to romantic Italy in ‘Cinema Paradiso’, get on your feet with ‘Libertango’, and finally home awaits in ‘Rasa Sayang’ and our very own ‘Horse Dance’. We simply want you to feel the joy we feel when we play these songs! Do enjoy the concert.