Saturday, October 17, 2009

Charles Lazaroo Pianist, Teacher, Composer

Discuss Singapore radio or Singapore music education and Charles Lazaroo's name comes to mind. Well known as a pianist, school teacher and music inspector at the Ministry of Education, Singapore, Lazaroo composed the music for the Siglap Secondary School song when he was posted there.

He was also in the public eye in his involvement with the Singapore Broadcasting Corporation (SBC). He had arranged and contributed music pieces to the organisation and in the 80s became SBC's music director.

Lazaroo was adept at accompanying singers on piano. In a rehearsal with him to sing a song for a 60s cultural show at TV Singapura, it took only two practices on the piano with me before the big night. I had Lazaroo to thank for the performance as it turned out well.

The rehearsal was fast and short. He looked at me, "What song you want to sing?" I mentioned the song.

"OK," he said, "just sing." I did.

"That's fine. We'll do the whole song once..." We did. And I completed my practice all within 5 minutes.

Charles Lazaroo was popular with many of Singapore 60s music vocalists and bands as they had to discuss performances and musical arrangements with him for the Talentime series, radio and TV shows.

Apparently this great pianist has many compositions to his name because according to *Juliana Lim, "I managed to publish a book about our national anthem composer, Zubir Said but did not succeed in publishing the music of the late Charles Lazaroo ('a little bird told me... ' July 3rd, 2009 posting)."

Image: National Heritage Board Singapore/Singapore Press Holdings.

Original article: Andy Lim Collection.


nomore said...

Seems so very gentle and mild the VIP Lazaroo...Thanks, I'v checked and listened the Elvies's the Love Letters...It was Great ! Thanks

Andy Young* said...

Charles Lazaroo was a good man, always helpful with pitch, tone and key. Very popular with contestants taking part in the radio Talentime those days.

I am glad you like, "Love Letters" because it is a very beautiful and sentimental song. It's a 1945 song but recorded by Elvis in 1966 and covered by more than 20 singers including George Lam and Teresa Carpio.

Andy Young* said...

Reply I received from:
Juliana Lim // October 17, 2009 at 4:50 p10

Hello, Andy, Glad you enjoyed the read. I first got to know Charles Lazaroo when as a student, I went to the ECAC Northumberland Road every Sat to practise with the SYC. Charles chaired the Instrumental Music Advisory Committee of the Ministry of Culture in the earlier 80s when I was responsible for music promotion programmes. He was a jovial man with a practical approach to the challenges we faced. He was fun to work, always smiling and we were all terribly shocked and sad to lose him so soon and so suddenly. Please do keep me informed of how your research is doing and if my former colleagues or I can help, please let us know. All the best!!!- Juliana

Andy Young* said...

From: airmataemas:

Dear Andy,
Thank you for your comment. I really am not an expert on 'asli' or 'kroncong music' though I am very much into them for my own pleasure. I grew up in JB in the 60s/early 70s listening to music and watching musicals on Radio And Singapore TV and really appreciated the great singers of those era like Kartina Dahari, Ismail Haron, Ahmad Jais etc.

You may wish to go to YouTube and click on to 'lukisanperasaan' channel where you will find my uploaded songs of Kartina Dahari, mostly kroncong. It's just a hobby(a pleasant occupation during my long winter nights here) and to keep alive the great artistry of Kartina Dahari.

You may also wish to click on to 'miocanzoni' where you will find some other interesting music/songs including a few asli ones. I have seen your blog and look forward to reading it. Regards,

October 17, 2009 2:49 PM

Andy Young* said...

Thank you both for the comments and information provided. I hope some surfers can provide more articles or short write-ups on these three topics, namely: Charles Lazaroo, asli and keroncong music.

Kartina Dahari, Ismail Haron and Ahmad Jais are also music artistes to discuss.

They are all part of Singapore 60s music.

Amanda Bernadette Lazaroo said...

My beloved great-grand uncle :)

Andy Young* said...

Hi Amanda,
If you like you can write an article on him or perhaps ask someone in the family who knows him well to do one because there's nothing much about him on the Internet. Photographs too, which tell so much, would be great.

I'd be glad.


Andy Young* said...

Is it possible that the 'Charlie', in 'Charlie And The White Cloud Orchestra', is Lazaroo himself? There are many recordings of Chinese singers in the region that were accompanied by this orchestra.

Charles Lazaroo said...

Dear Andy,

I don't know if you see this but, if you do, I wouldn't being contacted by you. I'm Charles Lazaroo's grandson and, while I may not know my grandfather enough, I'm hope to be able provide whatever assistance I can.

- CHarles

Andy Lim* said...

Hi Charles,

Thanks for the visit and the response. To be honest, I started this blog partly because I could not find CHARLES LAZAROO when I googled for his name five years ago. There were many other local sixties music-makers who have never been mentioned on the internet until this blog came on.
Now there's a surge and a lot more people, including policy makers who realise that we have a history of local pop goodies.

Please write in again as usual and leave me your mobile phone or email address and I shall call or write to you. I shall not publish the information.


kemo sabay said...

Hi Andy, I'm an ex-journalist, now writing freelance for social media. I'm doing some research into our former music greats and would like your email address to get more info. Would be a great help. Thanks a lot. Bernard Pereira

Anonymous said...

Hi Amanda, I read this blog that you are Charles's great grand niece. My dad and Charles were brothers. Don't mind me asking, which side of the family are you from as Charles only have 1 brother? I am currently trying to get to know some lost relatives. Thanks.


Ghazali Ismail said...

I was a student of MR Charles lazaroo from 1959 to 1962 at Siglap Secondary School.
Im now in Vancouver Canada

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Hi Ghazali,

Thanks for the response and visit. I started this blog, if you can believe me, because when I looked up Google 7 years ago I could not find anything about him when I googled CHARLIE LAZAROO.

Glad to know you. If you read this blog there's a man called HAPPY TAY who writes frequently to contribute. He lives in Vancouver too.

If you can, please write to me again but I will not publish your email address because it will be great to communicate with you. I have no agenda and your names sounds familiar. Lived in Siglap for many many years.

Henri Gann said...

Hey Andy !
Here's an interesting story for you. I was talking with my brother about the early musicians in Singapore in general last week and he said that Charles Lazaroo was our neighbor when we were living in Makepeace Road, Newton and it was while watching Charlie practised his piano that got him interested in music.This was in the early 50s. I was about 5-6 yrs old. By the way Winston Choo who later became a prominent member of the Singapore Government was also living on the same street and was my brother's playmate. Small World !

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Small world. Thanks Henri.

This posting is one of the reasons for my starting this blog. When I keyed CHARLIE LAZAROO some years ago when Google first started there was nothing about him.

Now we even have THE TREKKERS and HENRI GANN beside a host of other pop Singapore stars.

Henri Gann said...

Okay Andy ... I am going to call you the " Harry Potter " of Singapore from now on. You bring us back into the past. Aahhh ! turn on the lights #%^*€?@!