Created by and starring Malaysian singer and actor Sean Ghazi, TARAKUCHA! is described as “the Terrer-Menerrer Big Band with a Malaysian twist”, and essentially continues Sean Ghazi’s fascination with the Malaysian songbook, after the release of his AIM award-winning album ‘Semalam’.
In TARAKUCHA!, expect a night of music from Malaysia’s greatest composers and songwriters, ranging from P. Ramlee to Sudirman to Jimmy Boyle. But know that these won’t be straight covers of these iconic tunes, but mixes up the formula to take inspiration globally and weave in contemporary hits amongst the traditional ones, giving rise to Sean Ghazi’s ‘semalam’ genre. While the show is presented in English, there’ll be plenty of Bahasa Malaysia thrown in along the way, with songs sung across multiple languages (including Spanish and Portuguese even), and the most characteristic thing about them is their aim to shower audiences with humour, heart and of course, fun.
Presented as part of the Esplanade’s annual Pesta Raya Malay Festival of the Arts, this edition of TARAKUCHA! will mark the first time the show travels outside of Malaysia. Humbly beginning as a workshop in 2016 at Sean Ghazi’s club Bobo in Kuala Lumpur, the show has grown quickly in the two years since, playing a major concert at Garden’s Theatre in Mid Valley City, and the team were beyond thrilled to received an invitation to perform at the Esplanade. Says Sean: “Coming from a mixed race family with a Singaporean Eurasian mother and a Malaysian father, I understand how both countries have so much more in common than we have differences. TARAKUCHA! reminds us of that shared spirit.”
“In fact,” he continues. “The genre had its heyday during the time of P.Ramlee’s Studio Jalan Ampas, just a few miles away from the Esplanade. So it is quite special to pay tribute to this music and the golden era of Singapura and Malaya in Singapore.”
Sean himself is no stranger to Singapore; beyond winning the inaugural Fame Awards in 1995, he’s also starred in W!ld Rice’s critically acclaimed production of La Cage Aux Folles last year, and performed an intimate recital last December with special guest Stephanie Reese. Sean will be joined onstage in TARAKUCHA! with Ida Mariana of Kebaya Jazz fame, a 10-strong big band led by Musical Director Nish Tham on the piano, and “The Kuchettes” – Maya Tan, Izlyn Ramli and Ruzana Ibrahim as backing singers.
Sean concludes: “We don’t set out with lofty ideals but are often faced with teary eyed audience members who voice their renewed faith in the Malaysian spirit, and it’s our dream to take TARAKUCHA! all over the world to tell our stories and represent our Malaysia.”
Sean Ghazi has had enough years in the entertainment scene to know how to put on a good show, so with TARAKUCHA!, come dressed to impressed and in your best shoes – you’re sure to be on your feet before long and dancing all the way into the show’s rousing, raucous finale as it celebrates the best of Malaysia’s music.
TARAKUCHA! plays at the Esplanade Annexe Studio on 14th July at 8pm and 10pm. Tickets available here Pesta Raya 2018 takes place from 12th to 15th July at the Esplanade. For more information visit their website here