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Kassim Slamat & The Swallows

Kassim Slamat & The Swallows
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Friday, July 29, 2011

Volkswagen Driver with a Big Shoe To Fill

Nelson's Bar along Sembawang Road.
The building still stands today.
Volkswagen Driver with a Big Shoe To Fill :
At the peak of the swinging 60s, The Swallows had consolidated enough money to purchase a 2nd hand Volkswagen bus to facilitate their busy performing schedule that were happening across both sides of the causeway. Since none of them could drive, the bus was manned by the band's personal driver who went by the name Kassim Rahmat. A slightly less than average built man, with short Rockabilly style curls, Kassim did not posses the ravishing looks of any boy band would hope for - especially, in every boy band's quest to capture the hearts of the female audience.

Kassim's fan who had insisted 
for an autograph to be written
 on her bare palm.
After a brief voice audition with Kassim, The Swallows realise  they had a diamond in the rough - someone who has been left out of limelight throughout the years of performing in public. Unknown & untested in the music scene, this unsung member of the band was up for the centre stage, to fill the big shoes that were left by the charismatic Ahmad Daud. Ahmad Daud, who also acted as an adviser for the Swallows new lineup, had given them the much appreciated exposure prior to his numerous gigs and television appearances. Exercising the traits of brilliants as a leader of the band, Affandi Haji A. Rahman (drummer) initiated the slight name change from Kassim Rahmat to Kassim Slamat. A brilliantly tweaked idea to create a stage name that coincides with a popular Malay film entitled 'Ibu Mertuaku' (My Mother-in-law) - a tragic story about the life of a blind saxophonist - characterised by the legendary P. Ramlee in 1962. (Click on embedded link) >>> Immortalised Scene from 'Ibu Mertuaku', (1962)


Ahmad Daud (Left):
Acted as an adviser for the
newly formed Kassim Slamat & The Swallows
By 1966, with the EP release of "Angkok-Angkok Bilis" and "La-a-Obē", Kassim Rahmat, now with his new stage name, was ready to fully replace the heavyweight Ahmad Daud as The Swallows new front-man. As in the phrase "practice makes perfect", Kassim Slamat excelled in the vocal department and gradually, his stage presence turned The Swallows into a performance. Hence, the new line up called Kassim Slamat & The Swallows was born.

Kassim Slamat positioning himself as 
the 'Little Richard' of the East.
According to Singapore Encyclopedia, "The Swallows" are the only Singapore music band to have a hit in West Germany. Signed by EMI as their recording label, the song 'La-Aube' (Originally printed as La-a-Obē on their vinyl sleeve) received its first broadcast on Singapore Airwaves in 1966. The band became one of the popular acts during the mid 60s in Singapore/Malaysia. The Swallows are noteworthy for the amount of media attention they received from entertainment magazines and a few television appearances. Being one of the bands that were signed by EMI, The Swallows composed and recorded only originals at the former EMI Studio. (4th Floor of Mcdonald House, Orchard Road.) The Swallows original EP's are still sought after by vinyl hunters; albeit pirated versions from the 60s were also peddled on sites such as eBay.

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