"Shuhada", the second track from the single "Next Wave" is a ballad that records the struggle of Malaccans facing the Portuguese first attempt to conquer the city. "Shuhada" is an Arabic term that refers to martyrs and its singular form is Shahid.
The song was originally entitled, "Inquisition", written to condemn Portuguese Inquisition, but since documents on inquisition were destroyed, we had no evidence that inquisition was ever executed in Malacca. This had led us to write about Tuão Bandão and 702 men, as narrated in the "Commanteries of the great Alfonso Dalboquaerque" instead. The title was then changed to "Tuan Banda", however since we avoid idolising a human, the title was finally changed to "Shuhada" that represents the struggles and deaths of these brave men.
The dark melody of the cello opens the song, introducing the feel of defending the city from Portuguese invasion. The melody is then accompanied by the guitar and piano rhythm, along with the bass, and orchestral strings.
The opening of the words highlights the protagonist, a soon-to-be martyr when he saw عزرائيل (i.e. the Angel of Death), but was determined to stand and recapture the "bridge". This bridge, was an important entry to the city and was also a stronghold for the Malaccans where artillery are assembled to protect the city.
"Give me the strength I need, to carry on this fight, within this flame", is the protagonist prayer when the city was burnt into flame. The destruction of the city was recorded in the Commentaries of the great Alfonso Dalboquaerque:
"When the fire gained possession of one part and the other, it raged so fiercely that it destroyed a great part of the city"
"Keep resist while we bleed, cast out these demons, put them to shame" is the second part of the chorus that reiterates the Commentary where huge numbers of men were killed, some retreated, while some fought with full spirit, casting out the enemies from their beloved land. The intruders are labeled as demons for a good reason - it was not the interest of King D. Manuel to capture the city, but Alfonso (the second Viceroy), whom was driven by wealth, rather than religion.
"Like Goa's soil, they're in turmoil, as we deny, their war cry" is the second verse to relate the situation in Goa (at the time of its invasion) with the situation the Portuguese soldado had to face during their first attempt to capture Malacca. Portuguese war-cry of "Santiago" did not shake the defense of their opponent, yet the Malaccans fought bravely in defending the city.The same Commentary recorded,
"Then the Moors began to fire upon then with their artillery, which was posted in the stockades, and with their large matchlocks wounded some of our men.
As soon as the first fury of the artillery was spent, the great Alfnonso Dalboquaerque gave order for the trumpets to be blown and with a war-cry of "Sanctiago", i.e. "Saint James", they all, with one accord, fell upon the stockades of the bridge each battalion in its proper place, and from on this side and on that an infinite number of Moors rushed up, some with bows and arrows, and others with long lances, and shields like those of Biscay, blowing their horns and trumpets, and for a good space of time they fought very bravely, and defended the stockades;..."
The above inspired the lyricist to add, "Ear piercing horns, drum sound like storm...". The drum sound like storm is inspired by a passage in Hikayat Hang Tuah (sic. Tuha) that reads,
"Maka genderang arak-arakan pun berbunyilah seperti tagar bunyinya". that means "And so the accompanied drums sounded as loud as storm."
While "with Takbir call, unite us all." highlights one of the use of the phrase Arabic "Allah Akbar" ٱللَّٰهُ أَكْبَرُ which means "Allah the Almighty", or "God is the greatest". In a battle, the emotion of soldiers are vulnerable, and should one under distress, the Takbir should calm and remind them that God is great, and no one is greater than Him. And when one cries the Takbir, the other usually follow, thus showing unity among the group.
"In your name I live, then life I shall give, so do these brave men, will fight til lives end" is the passage from the 2nd pre-chorus emphasising the integral part of being a Muslim whom one submits to the one and only God. According to the Iftitah (a recital in the Muslims' shalat before reciting al-Fatihah - a common practice by the Shafi'i practitioners),
"إنَّ صَلَاتِي وَنُسُكِي وَمَحْيَايَ وَمَمَاتِي لِلَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ"
means, "My shalat, my ibadah, my life, and my death belong only to Allah."
So it is common to Muslims (some say the Moors), to say, " ِللهِ تَعَالَى" which means "for God" on every good deeds, including defending their land from invasion.
Both Malaccans and Portuguese fought in battles where each has their own interest. One is to defend and the other to invade. The war was indeed brutal, but the struggle was indeed worthwhile where one harnessed the wealth from the city, while the Shuhada will enjoy eternal happiness as Heaven awaits their souls.
*At the moment, listeners can listen to the full songs from the latest single by clicking the SHARE link at the Music Player (located at the homepage). Once the link is shared, a Music Player would appear at their page with the full song(s).