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Wandly Yazid is a respected and acclaimed composer, arranger and musician who is known for his contributions to the film and music industry in Singapore and Malaysia. A versatile and prolific composer and arranger of Malay film music from the ’40s to the ’60s, his best known work is the theme song for the 1966 classic Malay film Gurindam Jiwa. An all-round art lover, he was also an accomplished watercolour artist and oil painter. In 2001, he received a Meritorious Award from the Composers and Authors Society of Singapore.
Born on 24 Feb 1925 in Sumatra, Indonesia (then known as the Dutch East Indies), Wandly Yazid received his early education in Dutch Primary and High schools while he was growing up. He was introduced to music by a teacher who played the violin while still in primary school. Wandly's parents were educators—his father was a principal and his mother was a teacher—and he was encouraged by his parents to study at the Teachers' Training Institute in West Sumatra.
When he graduated in 1943, he went on to become a full-time teacher. As he began his teaching career in earnest during the Japanese Occupation of Indonesia, Wandly also journeyed into the arts, and he set out to learn how to play the clarinet and violin. In addition to music, he also learnt how to paint. This marked the beginning of Wandly's significant involvement in the art and music scene in Singapore and Malaysia.
In 1948, he decided to further pursue his passion for music. Singapore had a vibrant contemporary arts and music scene, and Wandly migrated there to advance his music studies. Soon after reaching Singapore, he attended a private music school to study piano arrangement, violin, saxophone and clarinet.
Four years later, Wandly got into music in a big way, forming his own music groups. In 1952 alone, he founded the Wandly Yazid Orkestra, the Megawati Orchestra with Radio Malaya, and the Wandly Five. He also began to perform with the Singapore Symphony Orchestra as a violinist in 1956, and became a violinist with the Singapore Broadcasting Corporation Orchestra in 1976.
In 1953, Wandly started working as a composer for the Malayan Film Unit and received an award the following year for the music he composed for the documentary Hassan's Homecoming. He then composed music for the Nusantara Film Company and Cathay-Keris Films, eventually becoming the musical director of Cathay-Keris Films in 1960. Wandly composed and arranged for more than 13 films with Cathay Keris including Hang Jebat, Jalak Lenteng and Lancang Kuning.
In 1955, Wandly began arranging music for Rediffusion radio channel. He went on do the same for television, arranging music for the television programmes Negara Jiran and Pesta Pop. In 1959, he established the Fajar Record Company. The ’80s saw Wandly performing in various venues as a pianist. He also began tutoring aspiring musicians, teaching the violin, piano, clarinet and saxophone.
Besides his musical activities, Wandly was a member of the Indonesian Club and became actively involved in the Minang community's activities in Singapore, participating in the Kesatuan Kebajikan Khairat Minang (KKKM) and the Singapore Minangkabau Association (SMA). Recognising his contributions to the Minangkabau Community, SMA awarded Wandly the Jasawan Agung Minang (Meritorious Minang Award) in 2001.
Even as Wandly retired from being a full-time musician in 1992, he continued to contribute his services to the music community as a member of various organisations including the Composers and Authors Society of Singapore, PERKAMUS and Angkatan Pelukis Aneka Daya (APAD) (Artists of Various Resources). He was also a member of the Malay Music Development Committee of the National Arts Council.
Throughout his music career, Wandly painted in his free time. In 2001, he exhibited his watercolour paintings at an exhibition organised by APAD at the Singapore Calligraphy Centre. His works were also exhibited at the Malay Heritage Centre and the Singapore Art Museum.
In 2001, he received the Meritorious Award from the Composers and Authors Society of Singapore for his achievements in the music industry. The following year, Wandly was named as one of 7 Magnificent Composers in a book published by PERKAMUS. A tribute concert Simfoni Layar Perak organised by MediaCorp in 2003 recognised Wandly's works as well.
Wandly Yazid passed away in 2005 at age 80. He is survived by his wife and five children. His life as a musician was remembered in 2011 at a tribute concert and exhibition Satu Jiwa, Dua Suara (One Soul, Two Voices), which featured his art. His music was performed by the Wandly Yazid Orchestra.
In 2007, Wandly was featured on Channel NewsAsia’s The Road Home, which was produced by The Moving Visuals. The following year, he was featured on Trailblazers, which was produced by Verite. The Wandly Yazid Museum, featuring his life and work, was opened by his son Jeffrey Wandly at Maya Gallery Singapore in 2012.
In 2013, Wandly's compositions from the ’60s were featured in Keronchong Seribu Satu Malam, a concert produced by Jeffrey Wandly and organised by the Malay Heritage Centre in conjunction with Malay CultureFest 2013, His music was performed by the Wandly Yazid Orkestra, together with musicians from Akademi Seni Budaya dan Warisan Kebangsaan (Aswara) and Orkes Keroncong Putrajaya (Malaysia).
The spirit of Wandly lives on in the Wandly Yazid Orkestra, which continues to perform under the guidance of Jeffrey Wandly.
All information and images courtesy and copyright of Jeffrey Wandly and the Wandly Yazid Family.
Born in Suliki, West Sumatra, Indonesia.
Attended Dutch primary and high schools, West Sumatra, Indonesia.
Attended Teachers Training Institute, West Sumatra, Indonesia.
Teacher, Bukittinggi, West Sumatra, Indonesia, where he studied music and fine arts.
Moved to Singapore and furthered his music and fine arts education.
Formed the Wandly Yazid Orchestra.
Formed the Megawati Orchestra with Radio Malaya.
Formed the Wandly Five.
Composer and arranger, film Kasih Ibu.
Violinist, Singapore Symphony Orchestra.
Founder, Fajar Record Company under Mega Records.
Musical Director, Cathay-Keris Films. Wandly was also composer and arranger for many films during this period including Udang Disebalik Batu, Kasih Ibu, Ikan Emas, Dosa Wanita, Wan Perkasa, Mata & Hati, Menunggu Kasih and many others.
Composer and arranger, film Hang Jebat.
Composer and arranger, film Jalak Lenteng.
Composer and arranger, film Lancang Kuning.
Composer and arranger, film Panglima Besi.
Composer and arranger, film Naga di Tasik Cini.
Composer and arranger, film Gurindam Jiwa.
Arranger, television programme Negara Jiran.
Arranger, television programme Pesta Pop.
Arranger, radio programme Children's Programme.
Violinist, Singapore Broadcasting Corporation Orchestra
Arranger, radio programme Selembut Sutra.
Formed Café Vienna Trio with Ahmad Jarr (piano) and Ahmad Sahab (double bass). Wandly played the violin and clarinet.
Piano musician and a music tutor who taught violin, piano, clarinet and saxophone.
Retired from being a full-time musician.
Member, Composers and Authors Society of Singapore.
Member, PERKAMUS (Singapore Malay Singers and Musicians Association).
Member, Angkatan Pelukis Aneka Daya (APAD) (Artists of Various Resources).
Member, Malay Music Development Committee, National Arts Council.
Received Meritorious Award, Composers and Authors Society of Singapore.
Received Jasawan Agung Minang (Meritorious Minang Award), Singapore Minangkabau Association.
Exhibited watercolour paintings at Contemporary 2001, Angkatan Pelukis Aneka Daya APAD (Artists of Various Resources), Singapore Calligraphy Centre.
Honoured in 7 Magnificent Composers (7 Tokoh Muzik), published by PERKAMUS in recognition of outstanding composers, alongside Zubir Said, Osman Ahmad, Yusoff B., Ahmad Jaafar, P. Ramlee and Kassim Masdor.
Honoured in tribute concert Simfoni Layar Perak, a concert by MediaCorp at Esplanade in recognition of Malay film composers and arrangers, alongside Yusuf B, Zubir Said, Othman Ahmad, P Ramlee and S. Sudarmaji.
Passed away at age 80 in Singapore.
Honoured in tribute concert Persembaharan Muzik 7 (Remembering the 7 Magnificent Composers) at library@esplanade, Singapore.
Featured in The Road Home, which was produced by The Moving Image for Channel NewsAsia.
Featured in Trailblazers, which was produced by Verite for Channel NewsAsia.
Honoured in tribute concert and exhibition Satu Jiwa, Dua Suara (One Soul, Two Voices), featuring his art and music performed by the Wandly Yazid Orchestra, presented by Maya Gallery and held at the Malay Heritage Centre, Singapore.
Opening of Wandly Yazid Museum at Maya Gallery, Singapore.
Wandly's compositions from the ’60s featured in Keronchong Seribu Satu Malam, performed by the Wandly Yazid Orkestra and produced by Jeffrey Wandly. Organised by the Malay Heritage Centre in conjunction with the Malay CultureFest.
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Wandly Yazid (right) with singers Rosiah Chik (centre) and R. Ismail (left) in a Cathay-Keris Film studio. 1960s.
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Wandly Yazid (right) playing the clarinet with Ahmad Sahab (left, on double bass) and a pianist. They are performing as the group Cafe Vienna Trio at Holiday Inn Hotel. 1970s.
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A photo of Yazid Tjaniago's (Wandly Yazid's father) family home, 'Rumah Gadang', in Payakumbuh, West Sumatra, Indonesia. 2000s.
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A family portrait: Wandly Yazid (top row, second from the left) and wife Iswanar Wahid (top row, second from right) with their children Jeffrey, Sylvia, Jimmy, Willy and Doreen.
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Wandly Yazid receiving the COMPASS Meritorious Award, which was presented by Brother Joseph McNally and COMPASS Chief Executive Officer Edmund Lam. 2001.
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Wandly Yazid (third from left) posing with his COMPASS Meritorious Award next to Brother Joseph McNally. 2001.
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Wandly Yazid with Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs Yaacob Ibrahim at a watercolour paintings exhibition 'Contemporary 2001' organised Association of Artists of Various Resources (APAD). It was held in the Singapore Calligraphy Centre. 2001.
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Wandly Yazid's watercolour paintings were exhibited in 'Contemporary 2001' by the Association of Artists of Various Resources (APAD) held in the Singapore Calligraphy Centre. Here, Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs Yaacob Ibrahim and Rahman Rais are viewing some of his works. 2001.
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Wandly Yazid honoured at a Tribute Concert 'Simfoni Layar Perak' by Mediacorp held at Esplanade - Theatres on the Bay. 2003.
TributeSG celebrates the arts community’s most senior members, and those who have made a lifetime of contribution to the arts. These artists, administrators, educators, patrons, and champions include many Singapore arts pioneers who laid the foundations of the vibrant arts and cultural scene we enjoy today. The many profiles in TributeSG let us into the minds and worlds of these pioneers, and help us understand our shared arts heritage. When we revisit their works and rediscover their journeys, we learn where we came from and how we came to be. Collectively, their stories tell the tale of the making of a nation’s artistic identity.
In putting together this collection, the TributeSG team consulted an external advisory panel, consisting of Arun Mahiznan, Choo Thiam Siew, J. P. Nathan, K. K. Seet, Kwok Kian Chow, and Iskandar Ismail. Those selected to be profiled in TributeSG met one of the following criteria: they were at least 60 years of age as of 12 Oct 2016, or deceased, or had received national recognition in the form of the Cultural Medallion. This journey of arts archival officially came to a close on 12 Oct 2016, after four years of extensive research, interviews and collation of information graciously provided by the TributeSG pioneers, their families and peers. TributeSG also benefited from enthusiastic help from like-minded friends and organisations who supported Esplanade’s cause—to remember, honour and celebrate Singapore’s arts pioneers.