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THE DEVELOPMENT OF INDIAN POP MUSIC IN MALAYSIA

Definition of Pop music

The word “POP” is derived from popular. So, the term ‘Pop Music’ referred
to ‘Popular Music’. The term indicate specific stylistic traits such as emotional
singing, lyrics about love and feelings, danceable beat, clear melodies, simple
harmonies and repeating structure. So that people can catch it easily and join in.
These criteria of Popular Music or ‘pop music’ make it received and appreciated
by the largest group of audience.
Pop music usually depends on reproductive technology as phonograph, tape
recording and burnt in Compact Disc (CD). This type of music popularized
through films, radio and television. It is also constantly changing in styles and
derived from electronically amplified music form. Therefore, pop music can be
defined as recorded and broadcasted music.

Indian Pop Music in Malaysia

According to my study and experience, the immigrants, especially from


South India (most of them are Tamils from Tamil Nadu, India) brought with them
their musical culture such as drama, dance, classical music (carnatic music), folk
music and culture. As early as 1930's before independent of Malaysia, these
musical forms of music have been played and performed by professionals and
amateur performers.

So far the Tamils are the only major ethnic group that actively involved
in recording and broadcasting their musical culture through media than other
ethnic group that migrated from India before independence of Malaysia in
1957. Therefore, the Indian Popular or Indian Pop Music in Malaysia refers
to Tamil Popular Music in Malaysia.So, the Indian Popular or Pop Music
should be called or addressed as Tamil Popular Music or 'TPop'.

Even though, the musical culture of Tamils evolves within Carnatic Music,
the influences of western musical forms in films have major affections in the
developments of Tamil popular music. The Indians especially Tamils in Malaysia
formed music bands for their musical needs and entertainment. These music bands
and musicians sing and played the songs from Tamil films in 1950s.
These film songs and music infused some western elements and instruments
in their musical activities such as clarinet, violin, double bass, accordion and
percussions like drum set, bongo, tambourine, maracas and kabasa.
According to my experiences and in my point of view, The development of
Tamil Popular Music in Malaysia can be divided in three major eras. The first era
is 1960 to early 1970s, the second is from late 1970s to 1980s, and the third era is
1990 till now. These time frames are also parallel with the technological
development in recording devices. There for, the development of the Tamil pop
music in Malaysia also can be divided in three technological era. Those are The
vinyl records era, the tape recorder (cassette) era and the compact disc (CD) era.

The 1960s
This era is the starting point in Tamil popular music in Malaysia. Songs
have been recorded in vinyl records and broadcasted by Radio Malsysia
“Rangkaian Merah”. The earliest vinyl record that can be heard is a product of
Mr.Re.Shanmugam (Radio Malaysia) and his colleague in that era Mr.P.Ramaiyah
(Penang). According to my experiences they are the pioneer in Indian Pop Music
in Malaysia