... in which I kill time by the hour ...

Feb 12, 2012

Childhood Ruined. Again. (+ benefits...?)

I've never had much regard for the Maldivian so-called music "industry". Any original songs produced are few and far in between. Pick out a Dhivehi song and 99% of the time, it turns out to be nothing but a rip-off of some famous Bollywood hit. Plagiarism doesn't sit well with me (can't they just take the trouble of giving credit where it's due?) - especially unoriginality - so I just tend to brush off "Dhivehi songs".

However, one of the very few exceptions for me was "Ummeedh" by Ali Rameez. I first heard it as a child - couldn't have been more than five or six years old - and it has stuck with me all this time. For me, it was a personal childhood favourite, because apart from the absolutely gorgeous melody (and Ali Rameez's voice, which goes without saying), I've never heard a non-Dhivehi version of it. I remember asking my mother more than once whether it was possibly another rip-off from Bollywood - because, frankly, the song seemed too beautiful to be a true Dhivehi original - and each time she replied she had never heard of another. I remember how happy I felt then. It gave me this belief that even among all the copied fakes our "musicians" keep belting out, genuine gems like Ummeedh did exist; there was hope for truly talented Maldivian composers coming out into the open.

Ummeedh was always special like that. It had catchy, melodious music, Ali Rameez's voice and it was beautifully romantic enough to move the heart of even a cynic like me. And it was original. That was the most important part for me.

And now some fifteen or so years later, I've discovered that Ummeedh really was too good to be true. This favourite childhood baby of mine is nothing more than another pathetic, lazy, fraudulent rip off. Not of some popular Bollywood hit though, which could have been traced at once. But a Japanese song. "Say Yes" by Chage and Aska.

I don't know what to think even...

Oh my gosh, I can't even-
Ummeedh is such a blatant rip-off. Compare Say Yes to Ummeedh and oh my gosh - the very instrumentals are the same. Barely a speck of difference!
It didn't escape my notice that our plagiarist also paid a whole lot of attention to Say Yes. Much of the Dhivehi lyrics were based on what the Japanese words sounded like. There are a ton of similarities between both. Such as at 2:55, the "assawaa dhu'aa magey" in Ummeedh that coincides with "asa wo mukaete" in Say Yes. Or at 3:12, the "saahibaa ey zawaajee" and the "koi no tezawari". They sound way alike when sung aloud. Meticulous job, there...

Seriously, this. I just - I can't.
I might not care much about Dhivehi music - because it's not ours anyway - but I held onto the few things like Ummeedh because I thought it symbolised what truly talented individuals among us Dhivehin could achieve.
Sure, with every Bollywood hit that comes out, there will always be a Dhivehi version two days later (complete with a lame music video >.>) and that probably won't change for a long time yet to come, but there was at least a spark of hope that songs like Ummeedh brought me. It told me that there was room for true ingenuity in the music business. A talented composer just needed to step out into that world and overshadow all that copied music. Inspire the existing musical leaders to dip their fingers into originality. The Dhivehin has potential.

But now ... Ummeedh has just been shattered for me, and along with it, all that it symbolised. I knew - I knew it was too good to be true. The evidence just didn't reach me back then.

I still can't believe how I found out about this. I was just browsing through all the JE stuff Nao gave me and I realised there were some episodes of Utaban I hadn't watched. Damn you, Nakai and Taka, for asking KAT-TUN about their favourite childhood songs. Seriously. I couldn't have ever even imagined -

They just show a VCR of old 90's Japanese songs and then smack in the middle is Say Yes and I'd recognise that melody anywhere and I think I got a bloody heart attack at that moment and then I just slammed down on my keyboard and gaped at Chage and Aska singing before I bolted from my room and ended up wailing all over my mother about how my Ummeedh is not the effin' awesome song we all thought it was for the past decade and a half. (Looking back on it, my mother probably thought I was being incredibly silly and childish; I would, too ... but I think it made me realise just how precious Ummeedh used to be for me. It really meant something.)

Perhaps it's the childhood love acting up, but I think I'll always end up listening to Ummeedh every once in a while. It's one of the few songs I've never grown tired of and kept loving even as I grew up. Now that I see it for what it is, all that it stood for has been utterly destroyed, yes. But as just a song ... it will be there, I suppose. At least for the sake of Ali Rameez's voice /bricked.

And now, having been exposed to Say Yes - though it came with such a shock - I can honestly say this song is absolutely gorgeous. Chage and Aska are talented musicians and singers and they sing this song so beautifully and with such emotion. The instrumentals, the melody, the romance - all of them are just as moving, perhaps even more so because this is the root of it all (or maybe I just have this uncontrollable affinity for all things original and genuine).

My dad sympathised with me because he loves Ummeedh too and hates plagiarism; he ended up watching the PV of Say Yes with me and I was amused at the awe on his face. He admitted that their singing was brilliant. And then he went onto comment on Aska's hotness. Oh, Dad, don't ever change xD

And now I'm going to be a spam troll and embed my favourite live performances of Say Yes because this song may be as old as I am, but it is effin' beautiful and I'm going to give it all the love it deserves, which I've been wrongly bestowing on another song for the past twenty years. Or something like that. =_=
(But just have a listen to the live perfs if you have time ^^ I like how they vary some of the instrumentals or the lines towards the end etc ^^ Plus the song is bloody gorgeous enough to watch all of them >.>)

Plus a ton more on Youtube.

Oh, sheesh, look at me, ranting about a song. I should be used to all the plagiarising and copying going on around me, but Ummeedh - I cannot say how disappointed I am. It was just one of the extremely few I actually believed in, but...

Despite how down I feel about this, I can't say I regret having discovered Say Yes. It has won my preference and deservedly so, and I don't care that the song is 20 years old - it's just gorgeous, OK. Deep down, I'm actually glad for all this.

In that respect, song plagiarism has shown me some benefits even before. I cannot deny that many plagiarised songs is the reason why I stumbled across their better, original ones. (No point in taking examples out of Dhivehi songs since nearly all of them stem from Bollywood anyway >.>) But taking Bollywood itself, for instance; their cases of plagiarism are notable.
Like, if it weren't for their film Murder's song Kaho Na Kaho, I would've never found out about the original Arabic Tamally Ma'ak. Or Woh Lamhe's Kya Mujhe Pyaar Hai which led me to Indonesian band Peterpan's Tak Bisakah. Or Race's Pehli Nazar Mein which introduced me to it's Korean original Saranghaeyo (which happens to be the OST of "Sassy Girl, Chun Hyang" for which I have a humongous soft spot). Heck, even Bodyguard's Teri Meri, which was stolen from ... wait for it ... a Romanian orthodox Christmas Carol >.> Yeah, I'mma stop now

I'm not saying that makes plagiarism OK. Nothing can. Just no. But this is me looking on the bright side of this situation. I'm glad I got to know of Say Yes, even if it came with a price.

I don't know, but one day - I hope us Dhivehin will actually live up to our potential. There are plenty of musically inclined people among us. If they want to make a career out of that - at least do it right, please.

(And if ever I find out that Sameeu - who, in my opinion, was the leading Maldivian in producing good, original Dhivehi music, even if only in the 90's - had also been belting out nothing but plagiarised songs he ripped from the farthest corners of the earth ... then - then my faith in our so-called music industry, which is hanging just by the frayed ends of a thread, really will break completely. That's it. That's the end of it.)


  1. Heard about this ages ago.
    I was meh about it too!
    But I feel for you! *hug*
    Theres a reason I don't like dhivehi music!
    If I had to pick one song I like I would pick "illahivibin" but who knows if it was copied to yeah?

  2. This is the best blog I've ever randomly read!

  3. @Yuae:
    Yeah, tell me about it. Dhivehi music sucks so bad, it's sad ;-; (Oh lookie I rhymed /bricked)
    Ilaahivibin <-- totally another childhood love xD Yes, I adored that song. But I'm not gonna hold any hopes that it isn't a rip-off. >.>
    A song I'd really pick would be "Eheelun". There are a lot of covers of it, but I like the original (I'm assuming it is =_=) one best, sung by a guy whose name I do not care to remember. But that is another one of the very few songs I'm really attached to. But I don't dare to hope it's an original, too. I'm just so fed up.

    lol really? xD Thanks, I guess. It's just my rants and ramblings and spazzes, but feel free to read them all haha xD

  4. Oh, so that's why the song sounded so familiar when I first heard it. Thought I'd heard it on a drama or something before, but I guess it was the residue of the Maldivian version in my memory. ~_~

    1. Yes, indeed. T-T There is still a dull ache in my heart (though I now adore Say Yes.)