Monday, May 4, 2009

May 01, 2009 12:01 PM
Sikh Musician & Former the Animals Guitarist Plan KL-Melaka WalkBy:

By Yong Soo Heong,KUALA LUMPUR, May 1 (Bernama) -

  1. Dya Singh, a Sikh musician now based in Melbourne, and Vic Briggs (now Vikram Singh), a former member of the Sixties pop band "The Animals", will walk from Kuala Lumpur to Melaka beginning May 15 to promote "the great outdoors of Malaysia".Both musicians, who are now in their sixties, hope that other people will join them in the walk instead of being cooped up in air-conditioned offices, shopping malls and vehicles most of the time."Walking is good for health, especially as one gets older. It is also a great way to get in touch with nature and one's soul," said Dya, an Old Boy of the Victoria Institution (1963-69) here.
  2. Dya, who was born in Raub, Pahang and grew up in Taiping, Perak, once worked briefly as a cadet journalist with the then Straits Times here before he went to Britain to study accountancy in the 1970s.After working as an accountant there, he migrated to Australia in 1981. It was in Down Under that his musical career blossomed and he became increasingly known for his Sikh spiritual music.Dya, which means merciful or compassionate, had walked from Ipoh to Kuala Lumpur two years ago and from Penang to Kuala Lumpur last year.In an e-mail interview, he said the Penang-Ipoh walk last year represented "one of the best weeks of my life" as there were "blue skies, little traffic on the trunk road and meeting lovely kampung folks and of course, the nasi lemak, laksa, mee goring, cendol, coconut water, sugar cane juice, durians and other fruits.
  3. "Dya felt that Malaysia's natural attractions were best appreciated on foot and more Malaysians should know that they have a beautiful country."In my music career so far, I have travelled to many countries. For me, none can match Malaysia and I have not yet seen all of it. If I can spend my remaining years just seeing and enjoying Malaysia, I shall consider myself very fortunate," he added.
  4. Referring to Vikram of The Animals' fame, Dya said the British musician was actually in Kuala Lumpur for the recent Vesakhi celebrations and had even performed before Prime Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Tun Razak when the latter visited the Tatt Khalsa Diwan Selangor gurdwara or temple in Jalan Chow Kit.The British musician, who had played alongside superstars like Jimi Hendrix and Dusty Springfield, became a Sikh in 1970 after he left The Animals (best known for "House of Rising Sun" hit song) in 1968. He is now based in Hawaii, producing music, including Sikh spiritual music.Dya, who said he first met Vikram in 2000 at a gurdwara in Phoenix, Arizona, said they were planning a short series of Sikh spiritual concerts for October 2001."Then 9/11 happened (and nothing came out of the proposed collaboration). A few months ago he contacted me and told me that he was passing through Malaysia. That was during the recent Vesakhi celebrations."Vikram was so taken up with the reception from the Sikh people, the hospitality and beauty of Malaysia that he asked to join me in this walk. He is a bit of a fitness and yoga buff these days."Dya said their walking "partnership" might lead them to collaborate on some music in the future which they had hoped to do in 2001.
  5. On his forthcoming walk, Dya said they hoped to end their walk to coincide with a noted Sikh festival in Melaka, the anniversary of the Sikhs' most revered saint, Sant Baba Sohan Singh Ji, which was always celebrated on the third weekend of May."We are taking the old route simply because it is more scenic and has less traffic. The route will take us from Cheras to Kajang, Mantin, Seremban, Rembau, Tampin and Melaka. Except for Rembau, all the other towns have gurdwaras," he said."I do not wish to 'achieve' anything, I am just grateful that my legs can still carry me and I can appreciate my country of birth. Life is a journey and therefore the passage towards an achievement is more important than the achievement. It does not matter what I achieve and there are no expectations.
  6. "But Dya said it would be a bonus for him if he could get more Malaysians to know that they have a lovely country and more of them to get into the habit of exercising and spend more time outdoors.Asked who would be helping him in organising their walk, Dya Singh said they included his childhood friend and producer of his compact discs, Menjit Singh from Kampung Pandan, and Gina Dhaliwal from SWAN or Sikh Women's Advance Network.-- BERNAMA

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