The first time Datuk M. Nasir and Datuk Ramli Sarip did a tour together, it was in 1982 when Nasir’s then-group Kembara opened for Ramli’s popular band Sweet Charity. Since then, the two greats in the Malaysian music industry have collaborated on many musical projects such as the recent sold out Ramli & Nasir: Brotherhood In Music showcase at Esplanade, Singapore. But, never did they do a full tour together again. Well, until now.
From Feb 13 to April 9, Nasir and Ramli – with musicians Tom Anuar, Aznan Alias, Rizal Halim, Along Exist, Fauzie Zain, Roza Rasul and Paang Zaman – will be performing at seven local universities nationwide under the banner Ramli Sarip & M. Nasir University Tour.
The universities they are stopping by are Universiti Malaya (KL), Universiti Utara Malaysia (Kedah), Universiti Kuala Lumpur (Malacca), Universiti Sains Malaysia (Penang), Universiti Malaysia Sabah (Sabah), Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (Johor), and Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Sarawak).
What is especially awesome about these particular tour nights is that the attendees will be guaranteed more than just good music.
At the press conference announcing the tour, Ramli said that the ultimate aim for the concerts held at these institutions for higher education is that so both he and Nasir can share their experiences with the crowd and also to get the students to be more creative.
Ramli, who believes in learning not only from books, explained: “Music can be an asset in exploring creativity for students entering the working field.”
Students can also expect advice like “They must commit fully if they want to succeed” and “Don’t get frustrated, don’t give up” from Ramli and Nasir who have had their shares of ups and downs in the industry.
They will each have their respective sessions within the concert time period, slated to be two hours or more, to entertain the crowd with their own brand of music. From time to time, they will also be regaling the audience with stories. And last but not least, there will be times when they are sharing the stage (or as Nasir described it: “We shall sing ‘La-la-la’ together”).
Before the concerts, Ramli and Nasir will also be participating in a discussion – a debate of sorts – with the students on various subjects pre-chosen by the universities. While these discussions are only open to the students, they will be recorded and aired on TV at a later date.
Having grown up in neighbouring streets back in Singapore, Ramli and Nasir have been crossing paths since the 1970s. “Our fathers knew each other too,” said Ramli.
When Ramli was perfecting the style of being the best rocker in the region, Nasir was following his career closely. “He’s my idol. When I was in Form 3, I formed a band because everybody wanted to be like Ramli Sarip. But I wasn’t mature then,” Nasir recalled with a laugh.
Their friendship developed slowly over the years, often bumping into each other even though Ramli mingled with musicians and Nasir’s circle of friends were painters.
Nasir said: “We are much closer now, since we are in the same industry.”
The 58-year-old Nasir – who’s nicknamed Sifu in the music business thanks to the many hits and meaningful songs he has penned, including some for Ramli – obviously holds Ramli in high-esteem. At this particular interview, for instance, Nasir preferred to let Ramli, 63, answer the questions, except for those specifically directed at him.
But it would be remiss not to also admit that Ramli respects Nasir as well. Ramli said: “M. Nasir is very smart. He has the ability to look at things from different perspectives. He is an observer who channels what he sees into songs.”
Admittedly, there aren’t many musicians like Nasir and Ramli these days. Maybe it has something to do with how things used to be done.
Nasir shared: “In the past, producers also doubled up as the guy who carried instruments. We also had extremely tight deadlines for making albums, just two weeks, so we had to write quickly.”
Ramli added: “I remember how people came together to create a song even when we had little or no money to pay each other.”
Although the current music industry is experiencing darker days for a number of reasons including a slump in record sales, both Ramli and Nasir believe a new breed of musicians will bring the glory back.
Nasir concluded: “When we started out, we only wanted to entertain people and saw it as a way to earn money. But as we performed more and did more, we came to realise that we have become part of the Malay music and its fans, and we can be a teacher to others. So, what better place for us to share that than at a place of education?”
Tickets are already on sale now and are handled by the universities. For more information, contact the concert producer RasaMusic at 03-7773 0677 or 013-263 3938 or visit the Ramli Nasir Uni Tour 2016 Facebook page. Also check out all the pictures on Instagram, @ramlinasirunitour2016.