Photo Essay

Bridging the Divide Through Music

The A+SEAN concert was part of George Town Festival 2016. Held at the historical Padang Kota, the event featured Malaysian bands and artists such as Datuk Sheila Majid, OAG and SonaOne as well as Penang's very own Dasha Logan, Bizhu and Ocean of Fire. Popular acts from Indonesia such as Nidji, whose single was played as a Manchester United anthem in 2013, and Raisa Ariana also performed on the same stage to musically connect both sides of the straits of Malacca. This photo essay attempts to capture the enduring relevance of the township to its people and outsiders.


Penang-based singer Bihzhu combines elements of jazz, soul, reggae and pop to create soulful music that has won her multiple awards, including Vox-Pop winner in the Cabaret Song category at the US-based 12th Independent Music Awards. She also performed at Beishan World Music Festival in China in 2015, and was the opening act at the 10th Penang Island Jazz Festival.

Jaime Gunter and Kelvyn Yeang of Ocean of Fire rocking steady. Ocean of Fire is an instrumental progressive rock band from Penang, playing a fusion of music including metal riffs and experimental jazz improvisation.

Penang’s very own songstress, Dasha Logan is the daughter of the late Loganathan Arumugam from the Alleycats. Her first single grabbed the fourth spot in the UK Soul charts in 2014.

Bittersweet is a Malaysian indie rock band that combines rock, punk, indie, pop and disco. It cites British pop rock as their influence and was listed second in the Top Malaysian Bands You Need To Know list compiled by Time Out KL.

Nidji from Indonesia is an alternative pop band whose single, Liberty Victoria, was used as a Manchester United anthem in 2013. Red Devil fans would know.

There’s no stopping the high-octane Radhi. OAG was one of the first English-language alternative rock bands in Malaysia to get huge attention from mainstream listeners.

A hit with the crowd. SonaOne is not just a hip-hop artist and rapper, he is also a graffiti artist and music producer. Only 28 this year, he has performed on tour in Amsterdam and Singapore and shared the stage with international artists such as Black Eyed Peas (the US) and Rain (Korea).

Malaysia’s Queen of Jazz Datuk Sheila Majid has multi-platinum selling records to her name. Her hits like Sinaran and Antara Anyer dan Jakarta are internationally known anthems. It was also her first public show up north in over 10 years.

Mother and daughter share a moment – and stage – as Kayda Wan Nur Khaleda (right), performs with Sheila Majid.

Indonesian singer Raisa Adriana has won 16 awards including a Yahoo! OMG Award and was nominated for four World Music Awards. Her music videos on YouTube have garnered over nine million views each. A lovely voice with which to close the A+SEAN concert.

Ch’ng Shi P’ng is a Penang photographer who likes photographing performing arts and cultural events. His works can be viewed at www.
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