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#Showbiz: New recording of Ella's 'Standing In The Eyes Of The World' marks US Independence Day celebration in KL

New Straits Times logo New Straits Times 3/7/2020 Dennis Chua
Tony Memmel et al. posing for a photo: Ella (centre) and Zee (bottom right) with some of the singers and musicians in the video © Provided by New Straits Times Ella (centre) and Zee (bottom right) with some of the singers and musicians in the video

KUALA LUMPUR: The United States Embassy is celebrating US Independence Day tomorrow with a difference.

It has released a special music video featuring rock queen Ella, and several Malaysian and American singers and musicians, performing her 1998 song Standing In The Eyes Of The World to mark the celebration.

The bilingual, English and Malay tune was first recorded as the anthem to commemorate Malaysia's hosting the 1998 Commonwealth Games, and was performed solely by Ella back then.

It was composed by Datuk Wah Idris with lyrics by Habsah Hassan and American singer-songwriter David Gates of Bread fame.

In a statement today, US Ambassador to Malaysia Kamala Shirin Lakhdhir said: "While Americans and Malaysians can't gather in person to celebrate our relationship this year, we can find other means to highlight our long history of partnership and cooperation.

"Today, more than ever, music is a universal language that transcends borders and brings people together, and in that spirit, the Embassy is proud to release a new recording of the Malaysian classic Standing In The Eyes Of The World."

The video features several alumni of American Music Abroad programmes. This programme is an annual US government-sponsored exchange that sends dozens of American musicians around the world, including to Malaysia.

They include former Guns N' Roses lead guitarist Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal who visited Malaysia in 2013 and 2016, guitar whiz Tony Memmel who performed here in 2017, jazz vocalist Gabrielle Stravelli who headlined US Independence Day celebrations in Sabah in 2018, a capella group ReVoiced which visited Malaysia in 2018, and all-female country group Farewell Angelina which visited Sabah and Sarawak early this year.

The project also involves a percussionist from the US Air Force's Band of the Pacific. Military bands have long been a mainstay of the Embassy's July 4 celebrations and the Band of the Pacific played at the Sarawak Rainforest Music Festival in 2018 and the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition (LIMA) last year.

Flutist Muhardiman Ismail or Mohar also plays a traditional Malaysian flute in the video.

Ella made history when she recorded a best-selling album titled Ella USA in Los Angeles in 1994, and featured Thal's fellow Guns N' Roses guitarist Slash in her 1998 song Bayangan.

Besides Ella, Los Angeles-based Malaysian singer-songwriter Zee Avi is also featured in the video. Zee released the album Ghostbird in 2011 and became the first Malaysian singer to have albums on the US Billboard Hot 200 Albums chart and top Billboard chart.

The song is arranged by Berklee music graduate and award-winning Malaysian music producer Helen Yap. She coordinated singers across both countries, in four time zones.

Another Berklee graduate, Nick Lee mixed and mastered the song, and designed Calvary Studios where the Malaysian portions of the song were recorded.

Yap said: "When I studied in the US, I met lots of students from all over the world and music was our universal language. Our shared love of music brought us together.

"It is so rewarding to work with the US Embassy and continue to build bridges by arranging this classic track and collaborating with talented artistes."

Replay Video

The music video

© New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd

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