Tuesday, May 02, 2006

A Singaporean composer, arranger and musician, Ahmad Jaafar was born on 30 Ogos 1919 in Binjai, North Sumatera.his interest in music began early, when at the age of six he began to learn to play the drums and later playing in the cinema hall bands that accompanied the silent films.

Ahmad’s first formal music traning did not however, begin until later when he learned the violin under the tutelage of his uncle. Then, at the age of 15, Ahmad used this newfound skil to join a band under the patronage of the Sultan Langkat at the time, where he received further music guidance from the band lesder, Mohamed Darus Omar. In 1938, Ahmad was made a band member of the Ducth Symphony, White Society, based in Medan, where this time his instrument was the clarinet. When World War II broke, Ahmad formed a theatre group touring Sumatera and was made to perform theatre shows to further the Japanese propaganda. The end of the war meant a search for a new livehood, which brunght Ahmad and his wife, Sutinah, to Singapore in 1946, playing at nightclubs, concerts, on radio as well as a sessionist for various recordings. Through composer Osman Ahmad, Ahmad Jaafar found work in the former Great World Cabaret, who founded a popular combo called Rayuan Kencana, was often featured on Radio Malaya and is widely remembered for his commitment to the former Radio Television Singapore (RTS), where he led the station’s orchestra for 15 years until his retirement in 1992.
Rising through the ranks at the Orkes Radio Singapura, Ahmad was made orchestra conductor in 1965, a position he held until his retirement in 1981.

Ahmad composed some of the best-loved songs of this era, such as Ibu, Selamat Hari Raya, Hujan Lebat and Tiada Berita. Although it is thought that Ahmad only composed about 80 songs, but his arrangements and orchestrations were numerous, including those for symphony orchestra that were peformed for Radio Malaysia’s “Malam Irama Malaysia” in the 1960s.

Ahmad has also been bestowed many honorary awards for his contributions, including the Singapore Administrative Star (Bronze) and Culture Medallion Award (Silver).

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