SINGAPORE 60's: ANDY'S POP MUSIC INFLUENCE: ON THE MUSIC N MEMORY TRAIL IS MY OWN BLOG N ROLL PROJECT. NOSTALGIA IS PERSONAL HISTORY N PICTURES TELL STORIES. POP MUSIC NOT PILLS. ANDY YOUNG. (November, 2008). IT'S DONE WITH MUCH TIME AND LOVE.


JOSE MARI CHAN: 'BEAUTIFUL GIRL' VIDEO ANTHONY LOZADA.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Michael Meets Melodians, Moonglows: Part One


Michael Bangar: Silver Strings Rhythm Guitarist

Michael Bangar played with the Silver Strings in Sentosa and Pek Kio Community Club in 2015 before I met him for the first time during the band's practice sessions. We were preparing for Media Corp's popular prime time slot, Not The 5 Show in April 2016.

After a few chats I asked if he could provide me his music history as a guitarist and singer. Michael had been playing with many pop bands in Singapore. He obliged and sent me a portfolio of his connections with the guitar groups from the 70's onward. 

He explained, "I paid my music dues learning and watching 60's Singapore bands like Silver Strings, Quests, Thunder Birds, Mysterians, Moonglows and other bands. In the late 60's I played in a few unknown bands. I was very low key." 

He went about honing his skills on the portable six-string instrument learning much from playing at clubs and events. Then when he was ready, "I went full time as a musician in October, 1984."

He joined Robert Shotam's band, The Silver Saddles with Sam Hussein and Sam Kassim. Robert was on lead, the first Sam was on bass, second Sam on drums and Michael himself on rhythm.  

There was a change of bands and Michael made his mark by teaming up with The Strollers 3 0 or Trio. Ali Hamzah was on guitars and Abdul Hais playing the upright bass (double-bass).  Sophisticated and pleasantly a gentleman in his ways, I asked about his unique surname. 

"It's Bangar not Banger," and added, "I'm Indian and have an international family consisting of members from many countries."  

Raised in the East Coast area Michael grew up in Katong and went to Telok Kurau Primary School and St. Patrick's Secondary School. He told me how he was traumatised in primary school by a nasty teacher. 

                                          *Video by Fabian Foo 
     Michael Bangar with Silver Strings @ Kallang Wave Concert 2016. 
(We were entertaining sports participants rather than 60's music enthusiasts.)

As a young teen he learnt guitar intricacies from his father, coaxing the instrument in an unassuming way. Playing and singing with ease, enjoyment and in a relaxed manner, his body language tells that he is an experienced musician.  A six-footer, he looks the suave, pop figure anyone would look up to. 

As of late, Michael is the only Silver Strings member to don shades during a gig. With his Ray-Ban glasses, he seems shrouded in mystery as he strums the solid guitar. 

As he tells his story, he remembers the famous 60's recording artiste Maurice Patton and The Maui Chimes who invited him to play. Patton was on both electric and Hawaiian guitar with Marwan on bass. Hassan Panjang played the drums. 
Lead guitar Ivor Lesslar (Cells Unlimited), 2nd guitar Donald Thaver ( Moonglows), Bass Jeffrey Pinto, Drums Ramon Francis ( Neu Faces), Sax Jerry Murad (Dukes) n lastly Mike Bangar on lead vocals n Rhythm guitar.

Before joining 60's pop stars The Moonglows, a drummer Maurice Limoco got a six months' booking at the old Queen's Hotel and invited Michael, Maurice Patton and Marwan to perform together. 

Climbing the stairway to fame, both as singer and guitarist, it was only natural for Michael to join recording artistes, the late Sunny Bala and His Moonglows. Sunny and Michael both played the guitars, Randall Morales was on bass and Cedric Cock on drums. 

Michael rattles off band names without pausing. He remembers every detail, time, dates and places. Each name or venue he mentions has a personal history in his book. And he says in all seriousness, "My father taught me the tricks and trade of playing the guitar. It's easy if you know how."

Read Part Two of Michael's story. Click connection:



*Video was taken @ 9 am. when participants were preparing for the run. But the band had encores from the spectator crowd present. 

Images: A Personal Collection.
Article: As told by Michael Bangar to Andy Lim.
(Copyrights Reserved.)

8 comments:

John Cher said...

Hi Andy. Thank you for this story about Michael Bangar, one of my favourite friends.

I first met Mike in a home studio in Upp East Coast Road. We were doing the usual 60s repertoire including some Shadows nos which Mike liked very much. Each time we finished our Saturday afternoon practice, Mike would say "How about a Shadows no". Mike is a very experienced singer/guitarist. He seldom need to refer to notes, either for lyrics or for chords. I have had the opportunity of jamming with Mike on several occasions. He is always enthusiastic, unassuming and most pleasant to work with. I am looking forward to our next gig at a church social event for seniors, where we are planning to do a set of Everly Brothers songs. On the night of the event, I wouldn't be the least surprise if Mike suggest closing with a Shadows number.. haha

All the best Mike, to you and the family ! Cheers!

JIMMY PRESLEE said...

Way to go Mr Michael Bangar.

FACEBOOK said...

WE THANK THE FOLLOWING
RANDY LEE KENG
SAGAR KALAL
ANDY NG
ATHENA BAGAIN
LINDA TAN
ANN ROWENA LIM
JIMMY PRESLEE
TOH RICHARD
JOHN CHER
RICHARD DANKER
HORACE WEE
TAN DANNY
ROLAND SHEPHERDSON
JOE WONG
JESSICA PANG
JERRY FERNANDEZ

FOR LIKING THE POSTING.

MICHAEL LEE AUSTRALIA (FACEBOOK) said...

Hi John - Mike Bangar plays the rythmn guitar the same way you play drums. He does what is required for the song, nothing fancy that is not necessary... Cheerio.

Robert Conceicao said...

Hi Andy

Just to say ‘hi’. Keep up the sharing of the music of an era of where I was just a boy trying to do well in my studies and earn some pocket money. Radio (and Rediffusion), vinyl records and “live” shows at schools and churches fun-fairs were my main access to the good music that you and your contemporaries gave us Baby-Boomers. Thanks!

chakap chakap said...

Readers must understand that pop bands play under almost any condition. It was a rainy evening when the Silver Strings played at the Promontory last year.

Similarly at the recent Kallang Wave Mall concert, the blazing hot sun had members soaking wet and fully baked when they played in the late morning under a make-shift (but pretty cosy) modern tantage. Acoustics was bearable and the spectators (not audience) enjoyed the band and music.

That's all the band wanted.

AUDIE NG (LEADER, BASSIST 'SILVER STRINGS') said...

Your write-up about Michael surprised me that he played with Sam Hussein who was known as Hank Marvin of Orchard in the 60's because his brother owns a sarabat stall at the former Orchard Carpark opposite Cold Storage and he plays Shadows instrumentals to entertain the British army guys and also tourists.

He was also the last guitarist of the Silver Strings playing at Dark Scene Outram Park before Silver Strings disbanded. He then joined The Beejays at Wisma Indonesia Nite Club and later formed a fantastic group called, No Sweat and I booked them to perform at Montien Hotel in Bangkok and they were the talk of the town.

He later played bass with Julai Tan, the only violinist but I had already informed Michael Bangar and was looking for Sam to meet up for a coffee and a chat.

FACEBOOK said...

THOMAS GWEE
AUDIE NG
THANKS FOR LIKING PHOTOS:

ATHENA BAGANI
JOHN CHER
CHEN DAVID
SAGAR KALAL
TIN LEONG LIM
PHILIP CHEW
JIMMY PRESLEE
YIP DICK
CHEN HUI SI
AARON CHOO
ATHENA BAGANI