Monday, June 4, 2007

Loga, of Alleycats, dies

Loganathan Arumugam, a founder-member of the popular and widely followed Alleycats pop music band, died after losing a year-long battle with lung cancer.

The 54-year old musician, who was one of the most recognisable local musicians with his trademark Afro hairdo, died at the Mount Miriam Hospital here at 10.50am yesterday.

He died to the tune of a collection of early Alleycats songs being played on a portable disc player placed at his bedside.

Family members said Loga, as he was fondly known, died with a smile listening to his music which brought him and the Alleycats worldwide fame.

He leaves wife, Susan, 50; son Vigneshwaran, 24, and daughter, Priyadashini, 20.
Loga used to play the flute in the band and was also vocalist alongside his brother, David Arumugam, 57.

David said his brother’s death was fated and the family accepted it as the will of God.

"It has been a tough battle but he fought it all the way after learning that he had lung cancer in October last year. He used to smoke but gave it up many years ago," he said when met at the hospital.

The body was later taken to the family home in Jalan Tanjung Bungah here and is expected to be cremated according to Hindu rites at 11am on Wednesday.

Asked on the future of the band, David said Loga had informed him that the Alleycats music should never die.

"We recorded an album last year but its launch was put on hold after Loga was diagnosed with cancer. The launch was supposed to take place when his condition improved," he said, adding Loga’s last stage performance was at the PJ Hilton in October last year.

David said the group had also planned to release a "live" album once Loga’s condition improved and the project was already on the drawing board.

The Alleycats, formed in 1969, has contributed much to the development of the local pop music scene.

The group started by playing in clubs around the country before signing a recording deal with PolyGram Records in 1978. The Alleycats has 29 albums to its credit.

It is one of Malaysia’s favourite bands with evergreen hits like Sampaikan Salam, Andainya Aku Pergi Dulu Sebelum Mu and Sekuntum Mawar Merah. The band until today is regarded as one of the classic Malaysian pop music groups.

Meanwhile Karyawan president Freddie Fernandez said Loga was a versatile and gifted artiste who had "dedicated his life to music and clubs".

"This is very sad news for the Malaysian music industry. The power of Loga’s harmonies with David was awesome and they were famous for getting crowds of all races to enjoy and appreciate their music," he said.

Composer M. Nasir, who co-produced the first Malay album for the Alleycats, Terima Kasih, in 1978, said he spoke to Loga on the phone last week.

"We talked about his illness and the treatment he was taking. He sounded fine at the time and I was confident he would be making full recovery. I will really miss him."

He remembers Loga for his positive outlook on life.

Singer Khadijah Ibrahim recalled meeting Loga with other members of Alleycats at a stage show in 1979. The first thing that struck her was his Afro hairdo.

"I remember him as a very serious person when it came to work. Off stage, he was friendly and charming. I will always remember his zest for life," she said.

For singer Francissca Peter, Loga was an intelligent musician who never stopped working to make the Alleycats music relevant to today’s audiences.

"Even the younger generation knows Alleycats. A musician like Loga is a rare commodity," said Fran, who got to know Loga and David in the late 1970s when they performed together at stage shows.
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