Sleevenotes for "OST A Day in A Life"


Stainbul Naturil - Usman Achmad
Al Ittirof - Haddad & Sulis
The Meeting - ABWH
In My Dreams - Reo Speedwagon
Do You Know Where You're Going - Diana Ross
Adhan and Allah-O-Akbar - Dollar Brand Duo
Van Morrison - Stranded
Man Against The World - Survivor
Lonely wind - Kansas
Footprints - Barenaked Ladies

'Stainbul Naturil' is taken from the Smithsonian Archive "Guitar Music of Indonesia". A traditional guitar-based Lampung song, it is a ballad by the inimitable Usman Achmad. I remember those late nights when my uncles played this kind of song during the harvest seasons. The smells of corn-leaves-and-tobacco cigarette, the unmistakable aroma of Lampung coffee with Aren brown sugar. The past. My past, that taught me these words: "dang jalow basah mak ngisei, keranjang mulang bakkang".

The tune 'Al-Ittirof' by Haddad Alwi is also known as "Tombo Ati" by Cak Nun. However, the lyric are different: "Al-Ittiroff" is based on the so-called "Abu Nawas's prayer" from the classic Abbasid dynasty a thousand years ago. The words are vintage Abu Nawas: "dear God, my sins are as uncountable as the dust. Truly I don't deserve to be in heaven. But I'am also too weak to be in hell, either. So help me, Lord. Bless me with your forgiveness". The next song, 'The Meeting', is about our longing to meet the Creator, although obviously it can also be one of the best love song of all time. With the voice of an angel, Jon Anderson has the uniquely ethereal voice that fits with this song. Wakeman, Brufford & Howe round-up the music arrangement. Dollar Brand (aka Abdullah Ibrahim) contribute 'Adhan and Allah-o-Akbar' to this compilation. Taken from his 1974 album "Good News from Africa", this is actually the lyric of adzan sung in a Swahili-style over a sparse arrangement of piano and upright bass (cello ?). Abdullah is a renown jazz pianist from South Africa, and I'm glad I had a chance to go to his performance few months ago in London.

Reo Speedwagon plays 'In my dreams'. I first heard this song in mid-80s (boy, that was waaay...back then). I have forgot the lyrics, but I will always remember the unmistakable riffs in the intro, as well as the reason why I heard this song in the first place. 'Man against the world' by Survivor is also a track from that days-of-innocence era. While the song is actually about a boxer down in his luck (was it OST for Rocky III?), what I remember from this song is the days when all the teachers in our Junior High seems to hold a special contempt for me and my friends :). The last song from that formative years in this compilation is 'Lonely Wind' by Kansas. The very beautiful piano-solo intro never fails to remind me of those paper birds that I made flew from our class in the 2nd floor. Ah... the best days in my life.

'Do You Know Where You Going' by Diana Ross is the theme song from 1975 film, "Mahogany". My favourite version is actually the one by Rien Djamain, which she sung with Jack Lesmana combo in the "Jazz Masa Kini" concert album, but since I left the record in Indonesia, I have to include the original version instead. Listening to her singing "Do you know where you going to, do you like the things that life has showing you", I feel very odd that some twenty-years later I found Van Morrison's (2005) song "Stranded" seems to give a perfect answer to the question. "It's leaving me stranded, in my own little island. With my eyes open wide, But I'm feeling stranded".

And finally, 'Footprints' by Barenaked Ladies. Taken from their latest album "Holidays", fittingly I first heard this song a few months ago during my first winter in London. "I've followed footprints in the snow, never knowing if I was right behind you". Now the snow have long gone. But the question remain unanswered : Have I leave my footprints in the snow ?

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