Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Yusoff Bin Blugok, or Yusoff B was born to parents from Sulawesi who settled in Singapore in the early 1900s. He is the younger brother of composer Rahman B, the father of popular 1950s singer, Alina Rahman. From a tender age, Yusoff was drawn to music and went on to become a versatile musician, playing the saxophone, mandolin, trumpet, flute, guitar and violin, and easily moving from gig to gig at some of the more popular nightclubs of Singapore.

From a mere fire bridget, Yusoff B rose to become one of the most creative and influential songs writer with many of his songs still sung and recorded by the present generation. These include “Suka Sama Suka” and the evergreen Hari Raya tune, “Nasib Miskin Kaya”.

It was just before the Japanese Occupation that Yusoff began to dabble in the music composition, and was then was offered a job with the Malay Film Production (MFP) Studio Orchestra, owned by the Shaw Brothers in 1948. At MFP, Yusoff ‘s were other well-known composers like Osman Ahmad and Ahmad Wan Yet, who were said to have influenced many of his compositions. Influenced by the development of Hindi movies and Hindi elements in Malay films in the 1950s, Yusoff formed a Hindi band called Chandra Raat (Moonlight Night) with comedian Wahid Satay and composer Johari Salleh.

As a composer and music arranger, Yusoff was diligent and meticulous, as he was known only to begin his composition after having read the script and fully understood the film’s story-line and underlying messages. He took utmost care in the music arrangement of his composition and his choice of artiste to perform his songs.

Yusoff B was also a much sought after as ateacher to the then fledging musicians of Singapore, such as composer/conductor Johari Salleh and actor/singer Aziz Jaafar. He has been described by Johari Salleh as a person who always explored new ideas and who was committed toward nourishing the growth of Malay music through films.
His other classics include, ‘Pahlawanku’, ‘Semarak Hati (from the film Juwitaku)’, ‘Senyum Tak Berbalas’, ‘Tari Tualang Tiga’ (from the film Sumpahan Orang Minyak) and ‘Wanita dan Teruna’ (from the film Iman). At the time of his death in 1968, the “Golden Age” of Malay film industry was just beginning to fade. His students saw Yusoff B as being responsible for nuturing the growth of Malay songs and music of their generation throngh the MFP Orchestra. The popular artites of the 50s and 60s, including P. Ramlee and Saloma also recorded many of Yusoff’s evergreens. Among the most famous compositions of Yusoff B, who died in 1968, is the popular Malay folk tune Nona Zaman Sekarang.

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