Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Young Musicians Play Western Oldies At Asian Resorts But They Are Not Playing South East Asian Pop 'Oldies'

Rest and Recreation:
During trips to Melaka and the Indonesian islands at the beginning of this year (2010), my family and I were entertained by young musicians who were able to sing and play songs from the past. These singers were either Philippinos or Indonesians.
Shadows to Dire Straits:
The top image shows a trio from the Philippines that were playing at a nightspot in a hotel at Mahkota Parade in Malacca. They had a repertoire of guitar instrumentals that ranged from The Shadows to Dire Straits. With fingers flicking on the accompanying synthesizer, one lone guitar plays the tune. Versatility is the name of the game as requests from the crowd came fast and furious.
Seniors and Connie Francis:
Surprisingly the two pretty ladies and young man were able to please the crowd of junior and senior merry-makers with whatever songs they wanted. Favourites for the night included selections from Cliff Richard, Elvis Presley, The Beatles, Diana Ross and Connie Francis. After a little chat with the young man, he remembered he worked in Singapore in the 90s. He told me his 'boss' was Audie Ng (bass guitarist of the Silver Strings).
Bintan Island:
The second image shows a quartet from a holiday resort at Bintan Island. This group was playing in the large and airy restaurant that had its dinner tables extended to the pool outside. There were no requests as the young musicians, comprising of Indonesians, belted out songs accompanied by the keyboardist during our big 'makan' under the starry skies.
Calypso and Mambos:
Their repertoire was different as they played rhumbas, cha-cha-chas, calypsos, sambas and mambos. To cool the warm, tropical night the singers ended the evening with a selection of soothing songs.
Comment on Pop 60s Music In South East Asia:
1. While the trio in Melaka pranced and danced on the tiny stage provided, the foursome at Bintan were cool and relaxed in their seats. Different styles naturally. But both groups were effectively entertaining.
2. Sixties music lives on, even on the little islands and provinces in South East Asia. It would also be a good idea if some of these local artistes learn 60s music from their own countries, ie: the Malaysians learning 60s Malaysian pop music, the Indonesians playing 60s Indonesian pop music and so on. The Philippines has a wide repertoire of local pop music from the 60s. Why aren't they doing so?
3. Bands in the South East Asian region must play their own pop music 'oldies' from the 50s and 60s otherwise these local classics will just fade away. There are many more songs beyond Bengawan Solo, Rose Rose I Love You and Singapore Cowboy.
But a personal comment here; these highly skilled music people are lowly paid. What a pity because they deserve much more...
Image/Original article: Andy Lim Collection.


Anonymous said...

Pop Asian oldies are hardly played in the region simply because they are unrecognizable. People in a clubs like music they are familiar with. They spend money to be entertained. How to attract crowds to make up for the loss in revenue. Cannot la.

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Perhaps you are right. But according to a friend, the musicians in the clubs in Indonesia and the Philippines are playing them. I guess they are richer culturally?

Singapore and Malaysia, with a varied population, prefer the Western stuff.