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Moods: Type: Acoustic World: Asian- Southeast World: World Fusion Folk: Folk Pop

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Art Fazil

Art Fazil spent his childhood in Singapore and Malaysia. Art grew up listening to his uncle’s record collection which included Jimi Hendrix, Bob Marley, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and Deep Purple. Later on he turned on to U2, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Ali Farka Toure.

By the time he was 18, Art was writing songs for regional big names like Ramli Sarip and Ella. In the early 90’s Art began working as a roadie for Ramli Sarip while he continued writing songs for major Malaysian acts such as Lefthanded, Ella and Kathy Ibrahim, with many songs published by Warner Music.

After his stint as a roadie for Ramli Sarip’s Malaysian tours, he formed a folk rock band called Rausyanfikir, meaning Thinkers (origin: Persian) with two school friends, Esham Jamil and Mohd Khair Mohd Yasin. The band recorded two significant albums- Rausyanfikir (1992) and Rusuhan Fikiran (1994). Influenced by the works of Iwan Fals, Usman Awang and Kembara, the band wrote songs exploring poignant issues such as social consciousness, political reawakening and cultural preservation in the face of rapid modernisation.

Its single from their second release “ Dhikir Fikir Fikir” was awarded Best Local Malay Composition 1997 by COMPASS ( Composers and Authors Society of Singapore) Awards. Both albums enjoyed modest sales, selling close to 50,000 copies. The band’s musical alchemistry was somehow affected with the death of one of its members Esham Jamil after a prolong illness which began after the release of their second album.

In between the band’s albums, Art went on to record a solo English album of self written songs. The single, “Sometimes When I Feel Blue”, went to the number 1 spot in the local charts for several weeks, and awarded the Best Local English Pop Song in the COMPASS Awards.

In 1995, Art moved to London to re-invent himself. He started gigging at open mic sessions and continued playing on the live music circuit. He played at almost every venue in London including The Rock Garden, Bungies, The 12 Bar Club, Ain’t Nothin’ But the Blues etc. He also played at venues around the UK- from Kent and Manchester Universities to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

London was Art Fazil’s metaphorical place of re-birth. His musical style evolved as his circle of friends and musicians widened. For an artist like him, London was ‘a grove of the mind’. The city’s colourful multi-cultural dimensions gave him space and energy to explore his creative musing
Some of his best live cuts have been captured in his 1998 release “Acoustic Juju” which also includes the Edinburgh's Tympnali Song Competition winner, “Monsoon Rain”.

In January 2000, Art Fazil returned to Singapore to perform for the Taman Warisan Fundraiser (Malay Heritage Board), performing with the Singapore Symphony Orchestra at the Victoria Concert Hall. The prestigious event were attended by the President of the Republic of Singapore, Mr. S.R. Nathan and the First Lady, Foreign Dignitaries and local MPs.

In late October 2000, Art released an introspective album called Nur (Light) inspired by his overseas experiences. The album received 7 nominations in Mediacorp’s Anugerah Planet Music 2001 which brought together acts from Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. He won 4 out of the 7 awards he was nominated for. The song ‘Merindu Kepastian (Longing)’ went to the Number 1 spot in the Singapore charts.

In early 2001, Art began a post-graduate course at London’s Guildhall School of Music and Drama to broaden his musical landscape.
Later that year, he formed Jawi Empire, a world music band with strong influences from African and Gamelan at the Royal Festival Hall, London, music as part of the multicultural celebrations, Festival of Lights.

In September 2002, Art played at the South Bank Centre in London, as part of the singer-songwriter festival called ‘The Song’s The Thing’ organized by Kashmir Klub and The Performing Rights Society (UK).

In October 2002, Art recorded an English number for the Mercy Relief charity album. The song, entitled ‘Song For The World’ was co-written with Canadian songwriter Lee Lindsey and two British songwriters, Mark Bryan and C.Christine. It was produced by Jack Guy at Sphere Studios in London.

An avid wanderer, Art has travelled in Europe, Turkey and the Middle East. In 2005, inspired by Amsterdam’s Pasar Malam Besar, he founded the first London Malay Festival. As part of MAT London (Malay Arts & Tradition London) Art Fazil organised the first London Malay Festival (www.london-malay-festival.co.uk) which had the participation from countries such as Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Madagascar, Thailand and Sri Lanka. The event held at the Royal Horticultural Centre in Victoria enjoyed a tremendous success. It was attended by Londoners and dignitaries which included Madagascar’s Ambassador to the United Kingdom and the world famous designer Jimmy Choo.

In February 2007, Art performed at London’s West End Arts Theatre in the Phil Ryan Show which featured UK acts such as Baby Sol, Peter Conway and Evi Vine.
In April 2008, he performed alongside Malaysia’s superstar M.Nasir at the Ambassador Theatre in Dublin, Ireland.

In between the abovementioned projects and concerts, Art continue developing his song writing craftsmanship by constantly performing at the various live music venues in London such the world famous Kashmir Klub founded by ex-Cutting Crew Tony Moore, Tall Poppy Presents, Pronto (Frith Street, Soho), Mawar (Edgware Road), The Visible (Portobello Road), The Bedford (Balham) and The New Inn (St John’s Woods)

The year 2008 ushered Art into a new platform as an actor. He has just recently completed acting in two telemovies Kau Mencipta Dosa Ku and Salam Lebaran in Malaysia under the renowned director Eirma Fatima to be shown in Malaysia’s Astro cable TV network

Art completed his post-graduate course at The Guildhall School of Music and Drama in 2003. In March 2008 he completed a course in Business Music at the Institute of Contemporary Music Performance.

Art Fazil is currently working on the release of his former band’s “Rausyanfikir's Best of…” compilation album to be released by early 2010.
His new solo album called Syair Melayu (Malay Poems) was released on June 20th 2009. This album will be Art Fazil’s full on foray into the World Music genre.

Albums
!992- Rausyanfikir (Pony Canyon)
1993- Art Fazil (Solo) (Pony Canyon)
1994- Rausyanfikir Rusuhan Fikiran (Sakina/BMG)
1997- Acoustic Juju ‘Live’ in London (Soul Library)
2000- Nur (Soul Library)
2002- Mercy Relief single ’Song For the World’ (Mercy Relief)
2003- Kembara Seni , video documentary (The Soul Library)
2007- Raya Nusantara single for Hari Raya Album (Life Records)
2009- Syair Melayu (Nusantara World Music/Life Records)

Awards
1995- COMPASS Best English Song for Sometimes When I Feel Blue http://www.compass.org.sg/cIndex59.aspx
1995- Anugerah Persuratan (Malay Literature Award) for lyrics of the song ‘Ali Malas’ from Rausyanfikir II.
1997- COMPASS Best Local Malay Song for Dikir Fikir Fikir from Rausyanfikir II http://www.compass.org.sg/cIndex57.aspx
1997- Winner of Tympanli Songwriter’s Competition, Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Scotland, United Kingdom
2001- Mediacorp's Anugerah Planet Music Awards:
1) Best Singapore Album 2001
2) Best New (Singapore) Solo Artiste 2001
3) Best New (Regional) Artiste 2001
2001- Getaran Global Ria (World Music Programme) The New York Festivals Finalist Award, International Competition For Radio Advertising And Programming