AKaR UmBi - brief bios
Ceremonial Singer of the Temuan: Mak Minah Anggong
Mak Minah learnt many of her songs from her late husband, a former batin (headman) of the Temuan tribe in Ulu Selangor, Peninsular Malaysia. Her first major public performance was at the Petaling Jaya Civic Centre in November 1993, when she contributed a song, Burung Meniyun, to Chandrabhanu’s acclaimed choreographic work, Birthplace Reclaimed. Within a year Mak Minah was singing Hutan Manao to an enthusiastic audience of 40,000 in Shah Alam Stadium (a performance carried live on national TV) at Malam Karyawan, the Bosnia Benefit Concert. Back in her village at Pertak, Ulu Selangor, Mak Minah lives the simple routine of a tribeswoman: gathering firewood, fishing, collecting bamboo, cooking, and looking after her many grandchildren.
Rafique Rashid: Composer, Musician and Musical Arranger
Rafique is a well-established professional musician and entertainer. He has written original music and songs for dance and theatre (Beauty Maker, Gulls, Lazy Hazy Crazy, Atomic Jaya), and his songs have been recorded by many other artists. Rafique has collaborated musically with Antares since 1984 - and with Mak Minah since 1992. With AKAR UMBI he usually plays guitar, electric bass and keyboards, and is largely responsible for the song arrangements, although other group members also contribute ideas. Apart from music, Rafique is a passionate cyclist and writes an occasional cycling column as “Captain Trek.”
Archivist, Author and Musician: Antares
Antares is better known to most Malaysians as Kit Leee - musician, columnist and author of three books (Adoi!, Moth Balls, and Two Catfish in the Same Hole). He now lives in Kampung Orang Asli Pertak, Ulu Selangor, with his Temuan wife and son. Over the years, Antares has urged the elders of the village to recount their ancient legends and creation myths. This has helped reawaken the tribe’s pride in their culture and spiritual traditions. His documentation of their oral traditions includes the compilation of a Temuan glossary, to be published as a book, TANAH TUJUH, when funding is available. A key member of AKAR UMBI, Antares usually plays bamboo flutes and percussion.
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