Tuesday, July 15, 2014

60s Band The Dukes Were Back For Gig

                        The Dukes with Selina recorded in the 60s.

I chat with Zainal Abidin time and again on the phone and he tells me that The Dukes are now active and running. So catch them while you can. His letter follows:

Hi Andy,

I am forwarding the flyer for The Dukes performance on 4 Jul 2014 at Mandarin Orchard Ballroom. We were very hot in the 60s with The Quests, The Trailers, Silver Strings and so on. Our main Sunday performance was at the old Prince Garni Hotel at Orchard Road (see picture taken at Prince Garni in the 60s).

Every Saturday night we played at the RAF and British Army Clubs all over Singapore. We have not played together for more than 30 years. Vernon Cornelius and his band, The Meltones and Jerry Fernandez and the Neufaces also performed.  
Dukes in the 1960s
Before the reunion for the charity event, I only play the bass every Sunday for my church. Three of our members are full time musicians and music teachers. Atan from The Flybaits and Jerry Murad are the music teachers and full-time musicians. Aziz plays bass as a part-time musician. The rest are jamming at home!  Paul Shanker also plays in his own band every now and then.
Dukes today
The new Dukes lineup shows from left: Aziz (4th generation Dukes bassist now playing the key board), Zainal (me, co-founder member still playing bass), Ibrahim Gulam (1st generation percussionist and still on percussion), Paul Shanker (2nd generation bassist now playing the rhythm guitar), Zainal Akib who replaced Safdar Hussein, rhythm guitar in the early days, now on the lead guitar, and Atan Flybaits (many generations later on sax, flute and trumpet). Jerry Murad (not in picture), original lead guitarist and leader, now plays the drums.
Church of Our Lady of Lourdes Pastoral Centre

The Dukes did play for Freddy Kang's 60th Birthday Bash on 24th August 2008 at the Riverview Hotel. But that was only with Jerry Murad, Zainal Akib,  two of our children, and me. 

We got together then only for that party where many of the guests also performed with their own groups as they are all Freddy’s music kakis (friends). That night we also met Billy Martinez (son of the legendary Harry Martinez), who sang and played the piano with me on bass.
Poster for the show in July 2014
We all played for the passion during the 60s. Now, most of us are in the Pioneer Generation, and today, we really enjoy playing together again.     
Will catch up with you soon and update you if The Dukes have performances in future.

Zainal Abidin.

PS from Andy:  I realised that one of the songs he recorded with his band was Rhumba De Havana, a song title with a city name (theme for my last posting).  You need to listen to Selina first on above You Tube as Havana comes afterwards. 

According to Zainal, both songs were mentioned in the international BMG magazine in May 1966. The songs were penned by Harry Martinez, music composer and tutor to many aspiring Singapore band boys and girls. The publication was popular then and discussed banjos, mandolins, guitars and cost one shilling and sixpence.

I must thank Malaysiaboleh for posting the song, the only one of many recorded, I think, available on You Tube.  

Many readers remember the Dukes. Please write in if you have a story to tell about your experience with this group.

Images: Zainal Abidin.
Image right: BMG Magazine from ebay.ca.uk
You tube video from: Malaysiaboleh.




I am trying to contact members of Pest Infested. We were good friends in 1970 when I was in Singapore.

If you can get this message to any of them please ask them to E-mail _____. This message is from Martin Mitchell.

I lost contact when Singapore telephone numbers were changed.

I have something they might be interested in.

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

If you know Martin Mitchell and wish to get in touch with him please write to me on this page and I shall forward the email address to you without publishing your name or email address.

MIA ZAI said...

Dear Mr. Andy,

I am working in a hotel in the East side of Singapore.The hotel has always celebrated the Countdown Party with band entertainment from the oldies. This year, we would like to find different one than we had for the past few years. Most probably, I would like to introduce The Duke to play on that night. Would appreciate if you can arrange them to meet up with me? You can contact me thru my email. Hope to hear from you.

Thank you

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

MIA ZAI please leave me your mobile number. I can't find your email address anywhere. Write in again. I won't publish your letter. Thanks.