Here’s my list of the greatest, and most popular “aramai ti” songs which originated from Sabah or Sabahans.
While the mere mention of “aramai ti” conjures images of alcohol drinking sessions, it does not necessarily mean so. Conversely, while most of the songs in the list can be considered “drinking songs”, i.e. with direct reference to alcohol consumption, some are not: it is their playful, even irreverent lyrics, and of course immortal melodies that are the main factors which enabled these songs to make my, and I am sure many others’, list.
When I say irreverent, words/phrases like “janda muda” [young female divorcee], “karud” [playful term for "spouse" or "other half"] or “makan jalan” are commonly used.
You’d notice that classics such as “Sayang Kinabalu” or hugely popular recent songs like “Tanak Kampung” are not here, simply because their lyrics are not irreverent enough.
This list is by no means exhaustive or guaranteed 100% accurate. Any comments are welcome.
I am not aware of any official compilation of such songs sold openly.
So here are the songs, with additional notes where deemed necessary or possible :-)
1. John Gaisah – “Ujung-ujung au kouli” [also known as "kolobu lolobuhon"]: about a group of friends who trudged to another village and drank so much that they failed go back home. This has the classic “lolobuhon karabau” intro.
2. John Gaisah & Sulah Rampas – “Dua kali lima”: the 2 singers teasing each other over “sukis” of the local brew “lihing.”
3. Rider Guntang – “Lima ribu“: about problems faced to raise RM5,000 cash as marriage dowry.
4. Sitim Bandaron – “Nah tusin”: song title literally means “take this money (to buy alcohol)”. Produced early 1990s.
5. Honarius Basil – “Torila Muda“, composed by Mynoor Ginggor.
6. Francis Landong – “Biris punya biris“; this is surely the greatest “Dusun dangdut” song ever; excellent intro and all-round strong melodies. I think this song has strong references to drinking tapai from a “kakanan” using a bamboo straw.
7. Jaimol Sulimin – “Mansau-ansau“; composed by George Andrew, this song is about a man fighting with his wife due to his excessive drinking out and flirting with other girls.
8. Jokteo Akang – “Proton Saga Kelabu“: a wildly popular self-penned hit when it came out in 1992; about a man rueing his decision to marry a young divorcee.
9. John Gaisah – ““Ngoyon Ika Tunangai (Bulan Lima)”: about one sleeping while hugging a “kakanan.”
10. Asmin Mudin (Umbut) & Lydia Kalidin – “Tiwas“: a relatively recent favourite; this advises students against getting drunk and generally being slackers.
11. Justin Lusah – “Kada arau monduli“: tells guests not to go home so soon because there was still a “kakanan” of “singgarung.” This is also memorable for its original keyboard riff which has since been copied countless times.
12. Honarius Basil – “Ku ingin jadi spy“: this is a cover of Mat Sentul’s “Spy Spy”. It is perhaps the most blatant Sabahan drinking songs ever ;-)
13. OA John Gaisah & Molly Alina Mojinggol – “Muli-uli togodon do sawo“; has the classic sketch intro where a drunk John comes home to his angry wife, Molly.
14. Francis Landong (?) – “Kada nogi poginum“; a song mocking hungover persons.
15. Thomas Intiang – “Bayaran ansur ansur“; a self-penned hit, about paying one’s marriage dowry by instalments instead of by lump sum.
16. John Gaisah – “Papayo Payo Oku” – about a married man with 5 kids flirting with a young girl.
17. Sitim Bandaron – “Haro poh logot-logoton“; composed by Christoper J Manggot; about two friends who haven’t met in a long time drinking and merrymaking.
18. Honarius Basil – “Bahar Minumlah”; with lyrics like these it’s another blatant drinking song: “Carlsberg minum Anchor minum bahar minumlah, kalau banyak minum jadi peninglah, Bulldog minum bahar minum lihing minumlah, nanti banyak minum jadi miringlah, bila dapat gaji duit banyaklah, pergi kedai kopi kita minum-minumlah, duit bayar hutang nanti habislah, kerna suda beli itu baharlah.”
19. Ambrose Mudi – “Kada Do Mombit-Kombit“; about people starting to flirt with each other after participating in a drinking session.
20. Kustin Ladi – “Muka Kayu Balak” (1990?)
Another John Gaisah song that starts with “Ohuyan kom ohuyan oku…”
“boros ngawi do tulun aramai oh poingiil”