Uploaded by Paul Ponnudorai on Mar 15, 2009
There are so many websites and blogs about this great man that my short posting about him today is actually a show of respect I have for this rare gem of the East. For more detailed reviews, just key in his name and a long list of connections awaits the surfer.
Paul Ponnudorai had passed on at 51 on Saturday, July 7, 2012. Known as one of the best entertainers this side of the Pacific, the virtuoso guitar player and inspired singer defied "musical boundaries with disarming easiness".
Although he was born in Ipoh, Malaysia, this musician of Indian heritage became a Singapore PR and was active in our local clubs and pubs since the early 2000s.
According to a write-up Ponnudorai dismantled, restructured and reshaped timeless songs to make them his own. Those who knew him personally said that he was a man of rare intelligence with an "encyclopaedic memory" and wisdom with "a cross-cultural view of the world".
Honoured even by *TIME Magazine he was described as the greatest musical interpreter of our time. His approach to music is refreshing, always with spontaneity and sincerity. "His ability to dice songs up, look into their hearts and perceive the common veins connecting every genre has won the attention of top international players who go to Singapore on tour."
Musicians like harmonica genius Toots Thielemans, top drummer Billy Cobham, guitarist Tommy Emmanuel and vocalist Bobby McFerrin have all heard and seen him in action. Trumpeter Wynton Marsalis (image 3) while watching Ponnudorai's performance, was so taken by this musical genius that he took his instrument and jumped on stage to play beside the guitarist for two nights! Performing solo, he used to play at Swing Bar at Cuppage Terrace, Harry's @ Esplanade and was last seen at Live! @ Bojangles at Tanglin Shopping Centre.
Strangely enough he only recorded one album. Called Right On Time (2005) Ponnudorai selected most songs from the 60s/70s and they include, 1. Joshua Fought The Battle Of Jericho 2. Delta Dawn 3. Misty 4. Detroit City 5. Henry Koh's Lullaby 6. Theme From the Godfather 7. Kansas City Blues 8. Rhythm of the Rain 9. Can't Buy Me Love 10. Love Potion Number Nine 11. Killing Me Softly 12. One Room Country Shack 13. House of the Rising Sun 14. Five Hundred Miles 15. Sitting On Top of the World.
According to the liner notes all tracks were recorded at the first take, without guitar or vocal overdubs except for the guitar solo on "Henry Koh's Lullaby". The bass lines, chord progressions, solos and vocals flowed from Ponnudorai naturally. But don't expect the standard treatment as a song like Rising Sun went into funk mode, Misty was given a Bossa-Nova-Cuba treatment and Delta Dawn was Stevie Wonder styled.
I heard him but only once. As a singer guitarist he was awesome! God's gift for our Singapore nightclub scene... Now he's gone. Rest in peace sir. Have you heard him play?
Images: CD Cover, Google.
(1) *TIME Magazine World. Grace Notes: Liam Fitzpatrick: