'A song, so old and yet still famous' is a Malay expression of admiration for an exotic singing style, a musical contemplation on the beauty of nature, God, and love. The ghazal exists in manifold cultures all over Asia, Africa, and Southern Europe, and is intimately connected to Islam and its periphery. In each region, ghazals have been shaped into other expressions using imported features and transforming them into 'local art'. In the Malay world, ghazals come in various shapes and with different meanings. 'The song, so old' is the song that came before the proliferation of mass media. The first ghazals that were heard in the Malay world might have been those ghazals performed by Hindustani musicians traveling in Southeast Asia. However, later on, the ghazal's development was additionally triggered by mass media, with technological progress enhancing change in urban entertainment and introducing new sources of further adaptations. In this context, the second half line of the lyrics mentioned, 'and yet still famous', means that despite being old, the song is highly regarded as an art in itself. Malay ghazals are still attractive and musically demanding.
They were traditionally not performed for mass appeal, but, rather, for a small knowledgeable audience that valued musical refinement and taste.
Publisher: Cambridge Scholars Publishing
Number of pages: 420
Dimensions: 212 x 148 mm
Edition: Unabridged edition