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Ross Ariffin plays Tanah Pusaka & Sam Smith’s Writings

For those of you who would like to hear more of Ross Ariffin on the ivory keys, here’s your wish come true!  There were two other recordings done for cilisos the other day that were not put up at their site so here’s where livingmsia will do its bit…ie Put It Up!


Coming right up… the song which we felt would be such a pity if not heard by all of you is this beautiful and evocative performance of one of Malaysia’s oldest and most beloved patriotic songs ─ Tanah Pusaka (The Soil of My Heritage).  You’ll probably like what he did in the middle with those jazz chords too.

“I was improvising,” said Ross, “and I did some variations.”  And after listening to the recording, added, “Wouldn’t it be nice if it was orchestrated and made into a tone poem?”

Ross, as you might have guessed by now, is a die-hard romantic and a big fan of the big romantic genre ─ his all-time favourite composer ─ wouldn’t you know it ─ is Rachmaninoff, no less. Yes, that big Russian with those big impassioned chords and even bigger slush for added melodic drama.

Is he influenced by Rachmaninoff then?  Oh, that’s for sure. He listens to Rachmaninoff’s concertos all the time!

Back to moving the heart through music, how does he manage to emote so much through just 10 fingers? His answer was straightforward: “I’m actually singing the song, but through the piano. And I am replicating the orchestra as if it was playing the song.”


Tanah Pusaka was written by Tan Sri Ahmad Merican just after Merdeka in 1957 when the newly independent Malaya was searching for patriotic songs to rouse love for the country.  Ahmad wrote the melody and his assistant at the time, Wan Ahmad Kamal, wrote the lyrics.


Have a listen to Ross’ arrangement of Tanah Pusaka and see what you think.



The other song he played was Sam Smith’s Writing’s On The Wall from the James Bond franchise Spectre. It won Best Song at this year’s Academy Awards, so you’d recognise it straight away, even if you’re not a fan of James Bond. And just to let you know a little bit more on the inner workings of Ross Ariffin’s musical mind ─ this is the first time he is playing it on the piano.

Apparently, all he needs to do is listen to a song, any song (without touching the instrument), process it in his brain, and out it’ll come on the piano ─ with key and every note, chord, and nuance correct and then some. So, here you go…

To know more about Ross Ariffin and to view his fingers from the front (yeah, this was recorded from the back), click the link provided here to the cilisos article on:  This Guy Writes Popular Malay Pop Songs But He Doesn’t Speak BM.  


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