"CITY OF MUD"
I wrote a song called "City Of Mud" earlier this year, around January/February for a friend, Toni Kasim, who passed away of cancer in June. I wrote after I got an SMS from a friend about Toni's condition which had been worsening at the time. It was my tribute of sorts to her wonderful spirit and personality. I didn't get to play it to her in person, something that I always felt was a missed opportunity to show how much I appreciated her efforts as a human rights activist and as a fantastic human being.
But recently Chuah Siew Eng, a mutual friend and currently working at the Center of Independent Journalism, confirmed that Toni had seen the YouTube clip of the song that was uploaded sometime in April. Siew Eng also told me how much Toni liked the rough mix of the Songs For A Shadow
CD that I gave to her for her birthday in January.
I guess it was a bit selfish of me in a way to want validation from someone I respected and loved. Especially since she was going through such a hard time. I would've loved to hear what she thought of it. But I guess I have to be content with the news that she made the effort to listen to the CD and watch the YouTube clip. Godspeed, Toni!
Anyway, I've been performing "City Of Mud" quite regularly during my gigs since. Because of Toni and also because I love performing it. The song itself is my ode to Kuala Lumpur, my home for the past eight years and where I've met so many wonderful people.
I recorded a demo of the song at home on my Zoom H2 around the time I wrote it. (I usually record my new songs so I can remember the vocal melody afterwords.) And for all the people who have heard the song and said that they like it, I've decided to upload it to my MySpace site
. I've also enabled the mp3 download function for this song so everyone can download and listen to it in their own time.
****PLAYING LIVE + NEW SONGS
To all the people who came to my gigs, thank you so much. I really enjoyed my set at Merdeka Cafe last Sunday. My setlist was eventually:
1. I Like
2. The Dreamer & The Tombstone
- an old song of mine which I put new guitar chords to; recycled art!
3. The Miracle
4. You Will Be Mine
- a new song that most people refer to as One Of These Days... LOL
5. City Of Mud
6. Jihad (Song Of Struggle)
- a new song about God! Oooh...
My set came at the tail end of two days of amazing performances by friends. I was blown away yet again by Sherry's set with percussionist Nizam. And it was nice to see Mei Chern (who has her debut mini-album out and it's good!) , Bernice Chauly, Zalila Lee, Peter Hassan & Markiza, Meor, Azmyl Yunor and others performing. At times I was a bit harried because I was also manning the sound system but the whole thing had a nice casual vibe. Reminded me of those old Troubadours gigs at La Bodega KL... sigh...
Anyway, I'm happy that most people enjoyed the new songs. I've been writing quite a few ever since I finished recording for the first album. So far I have about 25 new songs that I've written on the guitar. (About six on the computer, plus two more I'm working on right now.) Not all of them are great I have to admit. Some are quite morose because I went through a breakup with my boyfriend around the time. Writing the songs became quite cathartic.
I've begun putting together a demo for the second album. The working title for now is "City Of Mud" which I quite like and most probably retain. So far it's still rough. I'm listening to the demos quite a bit and figuring out possible arrangements and also thinking of who to ask to contribute. :-) Definitely I'm going to ask some of the local musicians whom I love... my dream is to have string arrangements. But putting together an orchestra wouldn't be the easiest (nor most affordable) thing in the world. Ah... might have to work an extra job... keep the independent spirit alive... durr... the Maggi eating days are not over yet... maybe I should approach Maggi for endorsement contract... "What does struggling independent singer songwriter JK have to say about Maggi?" "Chomp chomp... slurp slurp... Keeps the indie spirit alive lah!" Sad...
Anyway, I don't expect to record anytime soon. Maybe start late this year or early next year, depending on how ready I am to go into the studio again. Also depends on my savings... I want to go to visit some friends in Australia and jam with them... ah... sometime next year... money, money, money... just have to remind myself not everyone has it so lucky... at least I have a job... be thankful!
I'll be playing some more of my new songs alongside songs from the first album in some upcoming gigs. I think I might be playing next Wednesday at No Black Tie... awaiting confirmation for that. I hope some of you who might be reading this can come and tell me if they're any good. Sometimes I wonder.
Labels: Art For Grabs, City of Mud, Toni Kasim