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I have always been mesmerized by the red jackets this band wears (image) so when I found out 70's recording artiste Irene Yap has a brother in the band I contacted her.
Charlie Yap is a kind gentleman who, like a few friends, sends me WhatsApp posters and videos. Although he plays bass, I never realised he is the present band leader of this popular local group that is currently active in our clubs. When I asked him if he could tell me about his band, he willingly obliged.
As usual, we met at my favourite rendezvous. Charlie tells his story straight, cuts no corners and from how he describes his management style, runs it with integrity and precision.
He is a sound man, both in the work he does and the person that he is. Charlie is technically an acoustics professional.
Thank you, Charlie, for the article and photographs too.
Although Locomotion was formed in 2005, the individual members are an experienced lot as most of them have been in the Singapore and, for some members, the Asian music scene for many years. Most of them have been playing or singing since the 1970's and earlier.
The five or seven-piece band started out as a group of enthusiasts jamming together because of their passion for music. As the months went by and with their quality control performance, positive attitude and work ethics, the news spread and everyone wanted to dance to their music.
As their engagements increased and they started getting invitations to perform at corporate parties, birthdays and anniversaries, the group became serious and began to perform in venues all over.
With their wide repertoire and professionalism, Locomotion gained its reputation as a reliable band and chugged its way to the hearts of members of private and corporate clubs like, The American Club, Singapore Swimming Club, Tanglin Club and other private community clubs.*
They even received requests to play for the Peranakan Museum, Emily of Emerald Hill, an event organised by our National Heritage Board. These musically experienced gentlemen and the lady would usually hold two key positions in the band:
L/R (2017) - Aloysius Soh, Bert Choo, Kelly Tan, Vivian Bacinillo, Charlie Yap and Ngo Chi Phuong.
Locomotion is truly in demand, an energetic band that is keeping patrons dancing, singing and grooving wherever they performed. Requests for a particular song or a favourite tune has never been turned down.
The repertoire they have is wide; they have been known to play many long forgotten songs with calm, ease and dexterity and could easily provide music that covers golden oldies from the 50's onward. And there are not many dance bands around in Singapore. Shadows bands, we have but dance bands; it's a rarity here.
Latin, Bossa Nova, Country, Calypso, Rhumba, Cha Cha, Bachata, Samba, Tango, Hawaiian, Merengue, Waltz, Jive, Foxtrot, Rock n Roll, Twist, A-go-go or Line Dancing; name it and Locomotion will deliver.
"What about Pachanga, Charlie? Play that too?" I asked jokingly.
"No problem," said Charlie.
They're in black, they're in red, white and blue.
Definitely, no disruption when you board this train. One of the best musical train rides in Singapore; hop on board Locomotion.
Andy Young with Charlie Yap, bandleader, Locomotion. Singapore.
Images and Article: A Personal Collection. Copyrights Reserved.