Sweet Charity Profile
Born on 3rd May 1953, Rahman was the co-founder of Sweet Charity together with Ramli Sarip whiles there both stil in secondary school. They studied together in Jalan Tech Whye Secondary School from 1958-1062. The boys played music almost everyday after school with Ramli’s two kampung friends, brothers Wahid and Joe Salim. They practiced everyday and were confident enough to accept offers to perform. Not having any good name, their band was known as Funky Jewel. Their big break came when they were hired to play for a club called Ocean Bar to entertain the British army. In 1969, they reinvented themselves and changed the band name to Sweet Charity.
His most memorable concert was when they performed at National Theatre, Singapore alongside Anita Sarawak & Singapore Swing back in 19xx and during the Sejuta Wajah Reunion Concert in 1996 at Merdeka Stadium. Rahman’s favourite album was Pelarian. This album was the closest to his heart. “If only today’s technology existed long ago, I believe the sound, mixing and mastering of this album could be better. Rahman is a self-taught drummer and music is greatest pastime. Never in his wildest dream did he imagine Sweet Charity would become a huge band in the 80s’. Otherwise, he would have loved to improve himself by learning to play drums professionally. His favourite drummer is John Bonham of Led Zepplin and Ian Paice of Deep Purple.
Rahman is married with four children. Two of his boys play music. He never pushed them but encouraged them by allowing them to get formal training in music. Rahman’s advise to young artiste or musician, “Be humble, and be willing to learn, and also, they must always take good care of themselves.”
Born on 9th October 1953, Wan Ahmad joined the band in 1982 while the band was preparing to work on the album ‘Batu’. He was introduced to band by the late Syed Hassan, who was a close friend of Wan’s brother, Ismail Ahmad. Being a musician himself, Ismail was the person responsible in encouraging Wan to be good musician. Ismail gave Wan his first guitar at the age of 11. He joined a band called Breed just after he finished high school and dreamed to be in Sweet Charity every time he watched Ramli sing in his concerts. After a stint with Breed, he joined Impian Batik, another popular band in Singapore in the 70’s. Somehow, he knew he was capable of contributing his art to Sweet Charity. When Yong left to work full time, it left a position for Wan to fulfill his dreams as a keyboardist and guitarist. Not long after Wan played the keyboards, AJ who left for a job in Brunei was called back to joined Sweet Charity. Wan was then pushed to play guitar alongside Rosli Mohalim. Although Rosli was already on guitar and dominated the band, with Wan’s contribution, it created a different approach to Sweet Charity’s music and this was proven in the album ‘Batu’. The song entitled ‘Penunggu’ was his favourite with Sweet Charity. Wan never had any other job besides playing music unlike the rest of the band members. His involvement was only in one album, ‘Batu’ but Wan remained as Ramli’s band member due to his contributions. He also worked very well with Ramli. He admired Ramli very much as Ramli was his favourite artiste apart from David Gilmour of Pink Floyd. Wan continued to accompany Ramli in Ramli’s new band, Sangkakala after Sweet Charity was disbanded.
Ramli Sarip is an artiste who can shift effortlessly from his energetic metallic numbers on his electric guitar to swaying ethnic renditions with traditional instruments such as the gendang and rebana. The recipient of 1998 COMPASS Artistic Excellence Award has indeed a fascinating career path, from establishing himself as a heavy metal singer and musicians with the rock band sweet Charity – a household name in this region to a well-respected producer, composer and legendary artist.
Sweet Charity’s break came in 1979 when Warner Music released their first album, which sold more than 50,000 copies, excluding the uncontrollable rate of piracy. Together with the band, Ramli revolutionised the local rock scene with their own brand of rock and roll, with most songs incorporating Malay fold elements. In fact, minus their long hair and rock artiste image, Sweet Charity was accepted as a folk rock group. Tracks from the second album such as ‘Kamelia’, ‘Musibah’, ‘Zakiah’ and ‘Pelarian’ became instant hits. These numbers have remained Sweet Charity’s classics so much so that fans have forgotten than some were cover versions. Sweet Charity started their career in early 1969. They performed nightly at Ocean Club, naval base in Sembawang to entertain the foreign sailors and British soldiers before the release of their debut album. The group disbanded in 1985 when individual members decided to move on in different directions, with different objectives. Each had a different outlook in life after the success and began on individual career paths. But for Ramli, knowing exactly what he wanted, stayed on in music. Much of Ramli’s solo career took off in 1985, with an album entitled “Ramli Sarip” that focused on themes related to humanity, peace, heritage and life’s twisted yet glorious paths. This was the time when he started to explore his own identity, seriously writing and producing music, moving away from the music of Sweet Charity. His first solo album released in 1985, sold more than 30,000 copies. The next year saw his second album with sales up to 50,000 copies. It was voted Best Album of the Year and Ramli was named Best Newcomer of the Year. ‘Jikalau Berkasih’ (If You are in Love) was Ramli’s best attempt in composition and song would always feature in his concerts. As his solo career grew, Ramli composed and produced his own albums as well as for several other artists who subsequently became household names, such as Ella, Dayang Ku Intan, Khatijah Ibrahim, Lefthanded and Lovehunters.
The history of Ramli’s achievements and his musical philosophy were documented in a four CD box set produced by Warner Music in 1994. He is the first local artist to be given such an honour, which included the production of limited sets of a collector’s edition.
This change had listeners questioning his new path, wondering if Ramli was trying to “dakwah” (spread religious beliefs) through his music. But Ramli proved his critics wrong with the debut of his latest album, Kalam Kesturi, where he showed his mattle in producing quality world music for the people. Ramli has blossomed to be become a true voice of a generation.
AJ (AHMAD JAFFAR JAWAHIR)
Keyboards and Vocals
AJ joined Sweet Charity from 1977 until 1979 when he had to leave for Brunei. It was an offer he could not resist. At that time, music does not pay the bills. He rejoined the band in 1984 right until it was disbanded. He was involved in the recording of Sweet Charity’s first album entitled Sweet Charity, Pelarian, Batu and Berita Gempa. AJ beoming a singer was unplanned. However, during recording, Ramli would reject some songs hat does not suit his voice. Besides being a keyboadist AJ was also the vocalist for most of the ballad songs such as ‘Seniman Di Rantau’ and ‘Masalah’ in the first album; ‘Bagaikan Bermimpi’ and ‘Terharu’ in the album ‘Pelarian’, and ‘Permati Hati’ and ‘Dendang Remaja’ in the ‘Berita Gempa’ album.
MASRON ABDUL HAMID (YONG)
Masron or better known as Yong joined the band in 1980 after the band released their second album Pelarian. He then joined the band again in 1981 after the band released their third album ‘Sejuta Wajah’. Yong was introduced to Sweet Charity by bassist Syed Hassan to replaced AJ who left for Brunei for a well-paid job with Shell Petroleum.Yong joined the band for the love of music. When he was offered to play the keyboards, he was already playing for a three-piece band at Hando Club in Singapore. After the band disbanded, he still played at reunion and gigs once a while. Yong still hopes that they will continue performing as long as the fans still want them. During his days with the band, they always practiced together even when there were no gigs. Eventhough the band was popular that time, Yong still kept his day job with a bank, juggled between his jobs, band practice, and performing in concerts in East and West Malaysia. Finally he left the band in 1983 when AJ came back from his Brunei stint to take over the position to work on the album ‘Batu’.Yong is a big fan of Peter Cetera but he got a lot of influence from bands like Deep Purple and Led Zepplin.
Born on 30th September 1954, Rosli Mohalim joined Sweet Charity in 1977 as Bassist before becoming the band’s lead guitarist a year later. Rosli is the most talented guitarist in the region. He created a distinct sound for Sweet Charity with his guitar and one can surely recognise his guitar playing in Othman Hamzah’s most popular song entitled Gadis Melayu, popularised today by Mawi. Rosli graduated in 1975 from a famous art school in Singapore, Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts. The art school produced other talented artistes such as the late Mohd Din Mohd, M Nasir and S Amin Sahab. He had no formal training in music or guitar playing but he did have his personal coach/mentors, Mohd Fadglon and Wan Ahmad. After Ramli left Sweet Charity in 1985, Rosli took centre stage to keep the band afloat with popularity. However, without his charismatic frontman, Rosli lost his winning combination with Ramli to draw the crowd. Finally, his effort slowed down and he concentrated on being a producer for Warner Music for two years. Reluctantly accepting the fact that Sweet Charity needed to be disbanded, Rosli continued with a new band, Reeha, and played until 2007.
Rosli got together with the band in Sejuta Wajah Reunion Concert in 1995 in Singapore and 1996 in Stadium Merdeka Kuala Lumpur. Since then, the band performed often in concerts and showcase such as Tribute to Sweet Charity in Singapore (1999) and Malaysian Moto GP at Sepang International Circuit in year 2000. To honour his talent, Ramli invited Rosli for his 35 years in the music industry in Zaman The Concert at Istana Budaya 1995. Joining them were legendary guitarist Ian Antono form Indonesia and Man Kidal from Malaysia who jammed with them in the rock Trilogy segment – Hilang Gelap Terbitlah Terang, Ribut 10.59 Pagi and Raja Kumbang.
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