Wan Umar Shahid Wan Ibrahim (born 10 April 1990) is a Malaysian singer-songwriter, musician and composer, who performs under the stage name of Sounds Of Kites. An avid listener of folk music, experimental and post-rock, Sounds Of Kites is his amalgamation of sound ideas blending together in an effort to create the images he pictures. With soldiers of guitars behind him on stage, coupled with a baritone vocal, the songs he plays paint the audience pictures ranging from the galloping sounds of taking a ride on a steam-engined locomotive, to the soundscape that is justifiable only by drifting in a vast black sea.
It was a windy afternoon out in a local park, when Wan Umar Shahid and friend stumbled upon an old man flying a kite with his grandchildren. Save for a brief moment looking up, his eyes were fixed on the children tugging and pulling on the old man’s shirt, all asking him to fly it higher. Instantly captivated by the joy, the cheers, the sounds the children made, he wanted to capture the essence of what he heard in a single phrase.
Sounds Of Kites has been actively performing in the music scene around Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Pulau Pinang and London since 2015, hitting up stages such as on Merdekarya, The Gaslight KL, Urbanscapes 2017, Earth Hour KL 2018, Minut Init Galeria, Grind 22, The Bee, The Canteen at China House Penang and King William IV London. Constantly revisiting musical inspirations such as Ben Howard, The Tallest Man On Earth, Richard Hawley, Natalia Lafourcade, Sigur Ros, and Godspeed You! Black Emperor, he gathers a myriad of sounds in his head and apply them on stage like lotion to flaky dry skin, with one of his originals, “The Dancer”, a fast finger-picking and folky singing tune, got him recognised as a finalist in the Taylor Guitars Acoustic Challenge in September 2016.
Having collected the necessary ammunition, pebbles and experience, Sounds Of Kites began recording his debut album “Remember Sycamore” in April 2017 in Selangor, Malaysia. The album speaks of a reminder to always remember the trails and climbs done in the past, to desperately breaking away from the constraints that have chained us down, and to salute a solemn farewell to changing faces. With “Remember Sycamore” out in September 2018, Sounds Of Kites will take you on a musical journey that would make fishermen hungry for more water, and children run on fields with feet on forgotten shoes.
Photograph by Ahmad Azrai Paharodzi