Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Jimmy Boyle: Anak Pulau Pinang Music Composer

               Melody Of Love: Jimmy Boyle: Video from manicamsara

(I used to listen to Jimmy Boyle and his music on our local radio station during the earlier years of my life because Radio Malaya was one with Singapore's radio station. Two edited articles taken from the internet form the basis of this posting. Connections to the original sites are provided below.)

He was a big name in the Malaysian entertainment industry. A jazz musician and composer of many well-known tunes, his most recognisable effort called Putera Puteri is still performed by local artistes today.

The composer was the late James W. Boyle, a Penangite of Eurasian descent. Jimmy Boyle, as he was more popularly known, was born in Penang in 1922 and educated at the St Xaviers Institution. Later, after graduating from Raffles College in Singapore, he returned to his alma mater as a teacher where he taught English among other subjects.

"As a composer, his music was not unknown outside Malaya or Malaysia. He was accepted as a Malaysian Composer and Arranger for the Classical Saxaphone Quartet of N.W. University USA and Kansas City University Brass Ensemble.

The BBC and the Voice Of American had both broadcast his music. Jazz critics (like Jerry Michigan) knew of him. International jazz musicians like Charles Lloyd and influential jazz trombonist Jack Teagarden rated him highly."
Boyle composed, arranged, played and recorded his music for radio and television. The English Service of Radio Malaysia used to have short, regular programmes featuring the Jimmy Boyle Trio. He had a composition, Kemegahan Negara Ku, which was played at midnight on the birth of Malaysia in 1963. The first Malayan flag was raised to one of Boyle’s tunes.

Among his other notable compositions were: Putera Puteri, Ingat Ingat, Jauh Jauh, Rayuan Mesra, or Melody Of Love, Api Dan Air, Bunga Negara, Ke-Hulu Ke-Hilir, Pantun Melayu, Gemaran Bulan, Bertugas, and Sungai Pahang.

"Jimmy Boyle had hoped to perpetuate the soul and spirit of his country and its people. He has made a huge contribution to the music scene of Malaysia. Nothing seems more fitting than to give a tribute to one of Penang's musical gems." He passed away in May 1971.
Information: Colloquiums:

Information: Anything Goes, Sunday, 5 April 2009. The (almost) forgotten Jimmy Boyle. By: Bukit Mertajam, Penang, Malaysia.

Information: Little Penang Street Market. Every Sunday Of The Month. Press & Reviews Press Conference - Monday, 3 July 2006. A tribute to Jimmy Boyle.


manicamsara said...

Taken from You Tube Comment Page:

In my school days, one of the most likeable, indeed lovable, teachers was Jimmy Boyle.

He was full of joie de vivre and had exciting real life stories to tell us in between serious lessons.

He was my sports coach and mentor and took as much pride in my progress as my parents. He was also a good pianist and popular composer of music.

His best known piece "Putera Puteri" has become a standard in Malaysia. He gave me a book which I will always treasure with his compositions in it and added the chords for this song, Melody of Love, for which he wrote the English lyrics himself.

I think he actually liked this song even more than his big hit. But he was also very pleased when a major world orchestra, I think Dutch, played an expanded version of "Putera Puteri" in the form of a symphonic poem. To all who knew him, he will remain in our hearts.

Our lives also crossed in another minor detail. I was born in an old house in Kelawei Road, Penang during the Japanese Occupation. Jimmy lived there for some years after we had moved out.

It gave me a peculiar sense of importance that my teacher had lived in the house where I was born! Go figure!

It was only by listening again to Melody Of Love that I came to realise how strong is his musical influence on me. An embarrassingly large number of the songs I have churned out are actually emotional clones of this song. But I should not be embarrassed.

Imitation is after all a form of tribute that one pays to a beloved mentor. I am posting this rendition of the song with pictures of Penang in loving memory of a great musician and a warm hearted man.

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

A personal opinion, nostalgia and an extra piece of information for fans of Jimmy Boyle.

The You Tube video can be found on the right bar, main page of this blog.

Anonymous said...

Hi Andy,
Thanks for your occasional updates; I do still check out your blog pretty regularly.

All the best

You Tube Comment said...

The words and melody are beautiful in it's simplicity. And beautifully sung with great feeling.

If there is another world after this, Jimmy Boyle must be wearing a big smile on his face right now!

pokslow channel said...

Discussing a Jimmy Boyle Classic, 'Jauh Jauh':

One of the most beautiful Malay songs ever written. I was still a young boy when it was written, growing up in a country full of promise and hope.

Although it evokes great nostalgia this song nevertheless is timeless. i cant remember who sang it then but it certainly was infinitely better than any recent recordings.

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Hi Steve,
Thanks for keeping in touch. Glad to note you check out this blog regularly.

Colloquiums said...

This article has originally been taken from the above site, 'Penang Eurasian Musicians' by James A. Rozells and Kathleen Rodrigues:

Jimmy Boyle by far is the foremost jazz pianist/composer this country has produced.

A man whose vision and music abilities were years ahead of his time should today be a source of inspiration for all our musicians.

Unfortunately not many people are aware that this great man had written so much good music and yes, many have not even heard of him or his music.

We, Kathleen Rodrigues, John Lim, Lee Chong Heen, Colleen Read and James Rozells and a host of other musicians at the Rozells Country & Western and Oldies Pub hope to promote Jimmy Boyle's music to the public so that his beautiful music will live on forever.

The late Jimmy Boyle and his music had a tremendous influence and impact on many of his fellow musicians in Penang.

Playing alongside this great musician always brought a sense of pride and honour to any musician. Any musician you talk to who had the opportunity to play or sing with Jimmy Boyle would always talk in awe of the man's music and ability.

The memory of this man and his music moves so many in so many different ways and it inspires many to go out of their way to preserve the legend of Jimmy Boyle and his music.

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Anonymous said...

does anyone know more about jimmy boyle, his life and if he had any children? where could i find more information?

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

A lot of research is needed. My blog encourages such serious research and unless the universities pick it up I am wondering just how many people are interested.

I would love to meet any family member and interview them. This comment column is always open. Just write to me with your email address and I shall reply without revealing your internet abode.

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Because of this posting's popularity with the acceptance of Malaysian musicians like Jimmy Boyle as a truly great melody maker, I decided to add in another photograph and use manicamsara's video.

I hope the owner doesn't mind as I have also placed connections to his own writing. If at any time the owner feels otherwise please let me know and I shall take it down.

We need to promote all these wonderful people who have contributed much to the pop and traditional music scene that we had yesteryear.

Thank You.

Unknown said...

Hi ! I am James. Jimmy was my late dad

Unknown said...

Hi...i am James Boyle. Am a lecturer, composer and a pianist. Based on KL. Jimmy was my late dad.

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Hi James,

Sorry, sorry, sorry.
Didn't notice your note until today.
Terrible indeed.
Please write in again if you read this note.
I shall provide you with my email address.

Thanks so much for visiting.