SINGAPORE 60's: ANDY's POP MUSIC INFLUENCE IS A PERSONAL MUSIC, MEMORY TRAIL. BLOGGER DOES NOT OWN THE RIGHTS TO VIDEOS, AUDIO TRACKS AND IMAGES. THEY ARE UPLOADED FOR FUN, EDUCATIONAL, ILLUSTRATIVE PURPOSES AND HAVE BEEN CREDITED. BLOG IS NOT SPONSORED IN ANY WAY WHATSOEVER. INFORM BLOGGER OF COPYRIGHT ISSUES AND POST WILL BE DELETED IMMEDIATELY. ANDY LIM LA (NOVEMBER, 2008) -
Monday, February 07, 2011
New Orleans Jazz Bands And Chinese Funeral Bands
As a child I remember street music in Singapore which comes from Chinese funeral processions. These funeral bands play melodies from both Chinese and English pops. One particular pop song that I can still recall, Today, (You're) Not Coming Home (Jin Tian Bu Hui Jia 今天不回家), has been played so many times at Chinese funeral street marches that it's been accepted as the unofficial theme song for the occasion (Image 2: a band at Kim Yam Road taken in 1970 in Singapore).
Books from the US that discuss the history of jazz music claim that jazz bands began from dance bands or social orchestras. These were African American bands that played on the streets in New Orleans, U.S.A. officiating at funeral processions. They play solemn music on the way to the burial yard and hot jazz on the way back (Image 1: a New Orleans jazz funeral).
It is common knowledge in the 60s that some Singapore band boys who play in the night-clubs freelance and work as funeral musicians in the day. Again the parallel; New Orleans dance orchestras do not confine themselves to playing in the ballrooms but played at funerals. Nothing to be ashamed of because it's honest living.These funeral bands could comprise from eight members onwards and the instruments included trumpets, trombones, snare drums and cymbals.
The Chinese funeral bands have the same number of people with similar instruments. During a bigger and longer procession at a Chinese funeral (indicating the wealth of the deceased), more instruments could be used, like the larger bass drums and a tuba. When questioned why music is played during such a tear-jerking occasion, the band members explain that the noise drives evil spirits away. Comment?
Original article: Andy Lim
Image 2: National Heritage Board, Singapore. Image 1: http://www.allaboutjazz.com (GARY MOORE PASSED ON 6TH FEBRUARY, 2011. GARY GUITAR GREAT.)