Inspired by folk legend Woody Guthrie’s adage ‘This machine kills fascists’, veteran Malaysian troubadour Azmyl Yunor’s second single ‘Kapuk’ from John Bangi Blues celebrates the humble kapok guitar (an affordable acoustic guitar common to these parts of the region) as a tool in giving a voice to the voiceless. Illustrated by artist Shika, who also fronts queer punk band TingTongKetz, the animated video celebrates female and marginalized artists alike with a message of empowerment and freedom of expression in the face of tyranny and persecution.
“I said yes in 0.5 second when Azmyl asked me to illustrate his animated music video. When I was in Tokyo, there were many women carrying instruments everywhere – guitar, marching drums, trumpets – and that experience reignited my old dreams of having my own band and also creating female musicians in visuals,” Shika explained.
As part of his ongoing initiative in low budget creative collaborations with film students, filmmakers, and artists alike, the lyric video is the singer songwriter’s first collaboration with Shika who illustrated and conceptualized the characters and edited by filmmaker A-Jun. “I’m a big fan of Shika’s art and always wanted to collaborate with her – she illustrated drawings of me which I didn’t eventually use awhile back but I never had an occasion to follow up. I got know A-Jun about three years ago when she used ‘Tanah Air Ku’ for her documentary which premiered in Taiwan,” explained Azmyl on the origins of the video. All music videos from his new album, which features eight-song in Malay languages and two in English, will feature subtitles English.
The CD format of the album was launched on 26th September on Record Store Day but was digitally launched earlier on 16 September (in conjunction with Malaysia Day) on his Bandcamp page (URL: http://azmyl.bandcamp.com). It is not available on streaming platform services except his Bandcamp page. He has been home delivering the album in person since music venues have been barred from organizing live shows as part of the government’s efforts to curb the spread of Covid-19 in Malaysia.