Professor Malachi Edwin Vethamani, Head of the School of English at University of Nottingham Malaysia (UNM) recently had his poem ‘Solitude’ set to music by Malaysian jazz maestro Tay Cher Siang and performed by singer Aaron Teoh at the Malaysian Jazz Marathon 2020.
Professor Vethamani first posted the poem ‘Solitude’ on Facebook during the Movement Control Order (MCO) in Malaysia. Upon a friend’s encouragement, Professor Vethamani sent his poem to Gareth Richards, the Founder of the independent bookstore Gerakbudaya.
Sometime later, Tay discovered Professor Vethamani’s poem on the Gerakbudaya Facebook page. He set the poem to music and asked singer Aaron Teoh to do a demo and Professor Vethamani got to listen to the song.
“I am thrilled and honoured to have a well-known jazz musician like Tay Cher Siang put music to my poem. I was delighted when I first heard Aaron Teoh’s demo of the song. The song premiered at the Malaysian Jazz Marathon on 15 November where I heard him sing it live. The song has received a lot of good responses for its lyrics, music and the singing. I’m very pleased,” said Professor Vethamani.
‘Solitude’ was written a few years ago and it was published in 2017 in Professor Vethamani’s second collection of poems entitled ‘Life Happens’. He wrote the poem when he was thinking about what it could mean to be alone and coming to terms to being on one’s own, and enjoying that moment of aloneness.
“The word ‘aloneness’ is the last word in the poem and it contrasts the word ‘loneliness’. For me solitude is a positive feeling of being on my own,” explained Professor Vethamani.
You can listen to the song here.
(Photo credits: Chris Leong)
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Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham is a research-intensive university with a proud heritage, consistently ranked among the world's top 100. Studying at the University of Nottingham is a life-changing experience and we pride ourselves on unlocking the potential of our 44,000 students - Nottingham was named both Sports and International University of the Year in the 2019 Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide, was awarded gold in the TEF 2017 and features in the top 20 of all three major UK rankings. We have a pioneering spirit, expressed in the vision of our founder Sir Jesse Boot, which has seen us lead the way in establishing campuses in China and Malaysia - part of a globally connected network of education, research and industrial engagement. We are ranked eighth for research power in the UK according to REF 2014. We have six beacons of research excellence helping to transform lives and change the world; we are also a major employer and industry partner - locally and globally.
Posted on 2nd December 2020