This was first posted on Davina’s Facebook page. I requested if I could share this on WAMM simply because it’s such a real, sincere, heartfelt piece and of course, Davina and Az are truly Malaysian. She said yes. So for all our readers, here’s something that’s Malaysian Made.
I could never imagine being called a poet. I did write a couple of poems in college, but all were quite silly and masturbatory. Now I hear myself being called to the stage as a ‘spoken word artiste’. A few years ago, I wouldn’t have known what that was. Admittedly, I still don’t. But apparently that’s the latest feather people notice on my cap.
A couple of years ago, I was in correspondence with my old friend Az Samad, a renowned young Malaysian percussive fingerstyle guitarist. He was studying in California at the time he made the proposition of collaborating. In what way? I asked. “In any way,” he replied, “you’re so many things – an actor, a writer, a dancer… the possibilities are endless.” We briefly experimented with guitar clips and prose over email until he made his return to Kuala Lumpur, and we sat down for our first meeting. “Let’s start. What can you speak passionately about?” He recorded me for half an hour talking about being a vegetarian. He felt it was a great session. I felt impending doom. As ridiculously talented Az is, I couldn’t envision people forking out money to watch him offering musical accompaniment to a sermon on eating leaves.
What I didn’t know, though, was that it was merely an exercise – the first of many to get my creativity going again as a writer. I’ve always had an affinity towards rhyming (I recall creating pop song parodies in school, including a Jack and Rose dilemma to Madonna’s Frozen, and a love for coffee in Livin’ La Vida Mocha), but I always assumed until now that I couldn’t do much with it. Now I dwell on rhymes for hours at a time. Beats even more so. A youth partially spent on idolizing Will Smith has come around full circle.
Az is one of the most generous, easygoing, intuitive personalities I have ever worked with. And for the past 9 years that I have known him, he’s been full of puns. He is a pun beast. He drops them like popstar babies. Each rehearsal session we’ve had has left me in stitches. He has an impeccable performer’s instinct, and his critical eye has helped me develop this new craft in ways I have never dreamed of.
I get nervous every single time I go on stage as myself. As an actor, I’ve always been able to hide from the world as another character. Now there is no role playing. I am left with nothing but my own words in the hopes of entertaining people. “Maybe standup is not really ‘You’,” a friend told me a few years ago after being heckled off stage as a comedian wannabe. “Maybe you’re not as adept at delivering one-liners as you are at telling stories.”
Now this is my chance as a storyteller, 8 months into it and counting. It has been an incredible journey of surrendering myself to thought processes and spontaneous feelings, painting the town red with a fellow creative monkey on a guitar.
This weekend, I perform my first full gig with Az Samad. It will be the first time that audiences will be paying to see us. I know I should not pressure myself, but I like to believe that anxiety is healthy in small doses. The feedback we’ve been receiving as a duo so far has been overwhelmingly positive, and Az’s wonderful publicist / girlfriend Yin has assured me with these last words: all that’s left now is for me to have faith in me.
If you are free, come and join us tomorrow. We shall sing and dance and laugh and celebrate life in all of its resplendence.
And if that’s not your kinda thing, at least the cover charge includes food.
Uke + Spoken Word + Guitar with Az Samad and Davina Goh
Date: Saturday, 20 October 2012
Time: 3.30pm (Meet The Artiste session); performance begins at 4pm
Cover Charge: RM20 inclusive of Malaysian afternoon tea
Venue: DoPPel Kafe, Lot 2.04, Mezzanine Floor, Central Market Annexe, Jalan Hang Kasturi, Kuala Lumpur 50050
Phone: 017-623 0288; SMS to book seats
See you there, With Ants In My Pants.