A grand approach to music

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AT first glance, Alex Subryn Luis gives off a scraggly impression but it is the big enveloping personality of the 34-year-old tall, lanky and long-bearded lad that wins anyone over.

His cheerful disposition and public relations skills make him quick to be likeable. But it is when he’s holding a mic and on stage that Alex can grab anyone’s attention.

“I’ve always had music by my side since I was a little rascal but my fondest memory is my dad strumming the guitar and singing sweet melodies,” the Klang-born said.

He fondly remembers how he used to sing and dance to songs on television and radio and admits to always pretending he was on stage, to the amusement of his aunts and uncles.

“Music was more than just melodies against chords to me. It was also where I found comfort and solace,” he says, adding that music was his constant company when he lost his father to a heart attack in 1985.

At 17, Alex was part of a rock band led by blues-guitarist Zull King and soon after, Alex made his rounds in the Klang Valley pub and bar circuit. While pursuing his degree in Communications and IT, Alex busked the streets of Northbridge, Perth and then Melbourne.

But it was in 2007 that Alex says he found himself; while living with the Aborigines of Australia and immersing in their art, dance, music, culture and lifestyle.

“I bathed in the river, and ate emu and kangaroo meat for dinner. It was a journey of spirituality.

“But it was them who drew me towards understanding my being and true voice,” Alex says. He says it was through this experience that he learnt to compose heartfelt music that he could appreciate.

Naturally, as someone with an affinity towards rock, blues and soul, Alex cites his biggest musical pillars as Queen, Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix.

Along the journey, he earned a few awards and produced a double disc album Subryn in which he collaborated with great Malaysians such as Effendy Mokthar aka Sotong, Vijay David, Albert Sirimal and Danial Soliano.

It has been 17 years since Alex hit the music scene but he says “I’m only just getting warmed up.”

If you’re a Queen or The Beatles fan and wouldn’t mind your favourite tunes being intertwined with some traditional twists, then to catch Alex’s performance with the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra on Sept 16 in Akustika 1.

The event is the first of the three-day Seni Fest 2014, which will also feature stars like Ning Baizura, Zainal Abidin, Yusni Hamid, M Nasir, Atilia Haron and Elvira Arul.

“It’s really exciting to be given the opportunity to perform at such a prestigious platform with other big names.

“I’m so thrilled and nervous because this, by far, is one of the most important shows in my career and I cannot wait to break free and let loose on stage!” Alex says, promising a magical and fun experience for his performance in the first of Akustika 1’s two sessions.

Alex will also perform two of his compositions — the Bahasa Malaysia song Kajilah, which will take an Indian classical style in the Raga form, and Look into the Sky.

The three-day pass for the Seni Fest is priced at RM120 while tickets for Akustika 1 and Akustika 2 (Sept 20) are priced at RM70 and RM100. Entries to the Malaysia Tanah Airku concert on Sept 21 are between RM40 and RM150. Visit mpo.com.my or call (03) 2051 7007 to find out more about the festival. For more on Alex visit www.fb.com/alex.subryn

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on September 11, 2014.