Thursday, 30 May 2019, 11:48 AM
7 minute read
Datuk Dahlan Zainuddin (right) in a scene from the 1979 movie ‘Kisah Seorang Biduan’. -NSTP/File pc
By TONY MARIADASS - May 30, 2019 @ 8:08am
KUALA LUMPUR: The golden voice of ever-green Datuk Dahlan Zainuddin of the 70s era may have been silenced with his passing on Tuesday, but his legacy, true to his famous song and film, Kisah Seorang Biduan, will forever live on and be etched in the memories of all.
Dahlan, 78, died on Tuesday at 9.48pm at Selayang Hospital after falling into a coma since Saturday, following a second stroke in four years.
He had touched many from different walks of life and I was blessed that I had known him for almost 42 years.
The down-to-earth artiste is not only friendly with his fans, but also went out of his way to keep musicians together as a family.
Dahlan, after 40 years of being in the music industry, was still promoting musicians.
I was 19 when I first met Dahlan in 1977 as my football captain of the New Straits Times team.
Football was in Dahlan’s blood and he was responsible for putting the NSTP football team in the limelight as the captain and coach of the team when he was working as a marketing executive with the newspaper.
How I remember my first trip to Bangkok, thanks to Dahlan, who organised a Juara Kugiran for NSTP staff and raised money to take the NSTP football team for friendly matches in Bangkok by train.
Our first trip to Kelantan was by the Sri Jaya bus with his band for concerts in Pasir Mas and Pasir Puteh after friendly matches with local teams.
Dahlan, who played as a forward or midfielder, first played for the Selangor Indian Association in the Selangor league before turning out for teams like Starlight Club, Chui Lok, Belia Sinaran and Mara.
Even when he was older, he continued to play in the veteran team of Ulu Kelang Recreation Club.
He only stopped playing in 2013 when he was not well and even kept away from singing for two years.
However, it was not long before he returned to singing in 2015 with a performance in the KTM railway event coach to Hat Yai.
“Singing is in my blood. I cannot stay away from it.
“Although I may have slowed down and do not perform as many shows, I am happy that my services are still sought and invited to perform at functions,” Dahlan said.
Dahlan continued to perform at functions, and was helping a veteran group of buskers, Melody Buskers. He sang with them once or twice a week at the Nasi Lemak Tanglin at the Tanglin Community Food court near Lake Gardens.
“My presence with them is to endorse the band and that to tell music lovers that we have good buskers who are experienced,” Dahlan said.
Asked if he was degrading himself by playing at a food court, Dahlan said: “I did not become a star overnight. I had to go through the mill and start from the bottom.
“I will never forget my roots and will always support any kind of music and played anywhere.
“Music is supposed to be played anywhere and without the support of the masses, we will not be popular.
“Besides, playing at a food court allows me to meet fans and it was also an opportunity to meet old friends in a relaxed surrounding.”
Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah Sultan Ahmad Shah Al-Musta’in Billah speaking to the widow of Datuk Dahlan Zainuddin, Datin Effa Rizan (right), after funeral prayers at Masjid Saidina Abu Bakar As-Siddiq in Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur, yesterday. -NSTP/MOHD YUSNI ARIFFIN
Dahlan also had used sports to bring musicians together. On numerous occasions he organised football friendlies with artistes from neighbouring countries and also worked with music associations, such as Papita, Seniman and Karyawan, for many events.
He had indeed come a long way since starting to sing as a lounge and pub singer in the early 1970s.
Dahlan made his mark after competing in the Bintang RTM and won the Best Performer Award in 1975.
That year, he released his debut EP (extended play) album titled Kisah Seorang Biduan, which proved to be a hit and he went on to record two EPs, nine LPs (long play) and five CDs (compact discs).
He created history by becoming the first local singer to hold a concert at Stadium Negara in 1978 and also performed at the National Stadium in Singapore.
Dahlan also performed at the Malaysia Hall in London in 1976.
The Ipoh-born Dahlan spent his early days in Singapore where he had his primary education at the Telok Kurau English School before returning to Kuala Lumpur as a teenager.
He was also an actor and starred in the movie Kisah Seorang Biduan (1979), which was also the title of his debut album. He also acted in television dramas.
The NSTP football team was saddened when news of his first stroke broke and went on to organise a tribute dinner for him in January 2017.
Datin Effa Rizan, Dahlan’s wife of 40 years, was touched by the event held in her husband’s honour.
“We knew about the dinner, but we were surprised to see Dahlan’s old band here, too. I had known these men when they were just teenagers. How they have changed,” she had said.
“Seeing all of his old friends lifted his spirits and cheered him up.”
He almost brought tears to everyone’s eyes when he crooned Save the Last Dance for Me, which he sang in his well-known soft voice.
Dahlan leaves behind Effa and their children, Natasha Idha, 40, Mohd Danial, 35 and Athinia Ines, 24.
Another son, Akasya Iman died at the age of 12 because of leukaemia.