Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Sounds familiar?


31 January, 2007

THE ‘fusion’ theme of the recent Anugerah Juara Lagu, Rentak Kita Rentak Dunia had a whole new meaning, when it was discovered that one of the songs in the finals had ‘international connections’. Beautifully presented by singer Nora, Zulkifli Mahat’s tune Secebis Harapan, shares more than a passing resemblance with a Hebrew song titled Horchat Hai Caliptus (The Eucalyptus Grove), written by Israeli composer Naomi Shemer in 1963 and sung by Israeli-born singer Ishtar Alabina.

This was highlighted to The Malay Mail by a concerned music lover who declined to be named.

“I was working on my computer on the night of Anugerah Juara Lagu and when the song came on I was shocked to hear how similar the song was to Alabina’s Horchat Hai Caliptus “I feel upset.

It’s as though we lack ideas, copying the song almost in its entirety.

It’s piracy ... fraud.

What if the person won the major prize that night?” According to the source, he bought Ishtar’s The Voice Of Alabina album in Singapore in 2003.

The album was released in November 2000 by Frenchbased Atoll Music.

Our source even brought the CD for The Malay Mail to listen to and the similarity was evident albeit with some minor changes in the vocal placing and the key of the song.

Secebis Harapan composer Zulkifli Mahat said there’s no case of plagiarism.

“Many people have asked me the same question.

The issue has also been widely discussed on the Internet.

But all I can say is, Secebis Harapan is my original composition,” said Zulkifl i.

Despite being told about the similarities between the two songs, Zulkifli, however, stood fi rm, insisting that the song was his original composition.

“I had never heard of the Hebrew song.

If I did, I would have written Secebis Harapan differently.

But the truth is, I didn’t, and it’s my own idea,” he said, however adding that it’s not uncommon for songwriters to be inspired by other songs.

“I have no idea how the two ended up sharing the same tune.

I think, it’s a coincidence.

“It’s normal for a composer to produce his own by listening to other songs.

It’s not that we want to plagiarise, but it’s more of getting a few ideas on how we want to produce a composition that sounds different and creative from the others,” he said.

Asked on what had inspired him to write the song, Zulkifli said the song wasn’t inspired by anything.

“I sat at the piano and the melody came to me.

I felt like doing a slow number when I composed the song,” he said, adding that the song was supposed to be sung by another singer, whom he refused to name, before it was decided to be given to Nora.

On any legal action that could possibly be taken against him, Zulkifli said the matter should not be seen as controversial.

“It’s not worth it to take such action since the song did not make profit,” he said.

“If anyone wants to proceed with legal action, all I can say is go ahead, but don’t frustrate yourself as I have nothing to offer.”

Taken from --

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