Friday, January 03, 2020

Andy 60's Music Blog: NUS Students Meet Singapore Music Makers

Deborah, Hafizah, and Clifford with Andy Young (far left), Jerry Fernandez, Michael Bangar and Winston Koh
My name is Hafizah, and together with six other National University of Singapore (NUS) students, we had taken a module titled, Social and Cultural Studies through Music. This course was intended to provide a broad cross-cultural introduction to diverse music of the contemporary world. By the end of the semester, we were tasked to present our research and findings on any aspect of the Singapore music scene. 

During our initial discussions, we realized we had a common interest in the history of rock ‘n’ roll music in Singapore and was interested in doing an analysis on its evolution over time. Eventually, we narrowed our scope down to the history of rock ‘n’ roll in the 1960s. However, in order to depict the most accurate picture, we had hoped to reach out to musicians of that era and hear as much first hand experiences and insight.

Thereafter, our search began and we were almost left unsure of where to even find such musicians! I had been searching online until I came across Andy’s blog and was astonished as I scrolled through the many years of blog posts and articles regarding Singapore’s music scene. I later reached out to him and was very grateful he was agreeable in meeting and conducting an interview alongside Jerry Fernandez, Michael Bangar and Winston Koh. I am so incredibly appreciative as it had provided us with ample opportunities to hear from the musicians themselves and served truly as a wealth of experiences and knowledge. 

We gained so much insight just from those several hours such as hearing first-hand how the western influence such as “The Shadows” has influenced rock ‘n’ roll music in Singapore and how popular local bands such as The Quests managed to achieve milestones such as topping the Beatles on the charts. From the interview, we were also able to share how the clampdown on rock ‘n’ roll music led to many instances of discrimination by the authorities which proved to be almost a surreal occurrence to us youngsters.

We were also able to highlight the impact of events such as the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis on the livelihood of musicians and the need to adapt to such environments. Most importantly, we were able to highlight the lack of support for local musicians then, which can even be seen in the current music scene today. This served as a point of reflection for our audience in hopes of encouraging them to support our own Singaporean artists, beyond the rock ‘n’ roll scene today.
I would like to extend my deepest gratitude to Andy, Jerry, Michael and Winston for taking the time to meet us students, and for sharing their experiences with us. While I was elated that our professor was impressed that we managed to reach out to so many musicians of that era, I was more elated to have learnt so much. I was grateful for the opportunity to hear from individuals so driven by their passion and love for music, which was evidently seen in the stories shared. Thank you again for this opportunity. :-)

Image: A Personal Collection.
Thanks to Hafizah for the above article.
Much appreciated.
Image result for asian student studying and meeting
This blog will help students when it can. Write in if you have questions about SG
60's music. We don't promise we can answer all your questions, but we will try.


Anonymous said...

Hi Andy,
The students are very fortunate to have contacted you for their project.
Just by reading your blog for the beginning will already give a true and factual history of the local music scene in the 60s.
By meeting all of you the music makers in that era, the students are actually writing their project in live mode.
Andy at least your blog has been helpful to the students.

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

If they ask, we should provide. Cheers. Thanks to Michael Bangar, Winston Koh and Jerry Fernandez for their time. :-)


Wow you did provide with three other great musicians of the 60s era.
An interesting story with assistance from artists from the 60 Singapore.

YEN CHOW said...

Music makes wonders! It is a wonder that music connects strangers of different age groups to come together and share a wealth of experience and knowledge. Very good effort for the students to approach the music makers.

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Thanks too all for the comments.
And to the 3 students for their article.

FRANK TAN said...

Singapore Music Giants. No doubt about that.


Youngsters, our future.


Hey Andy,
Well analysed and well written by Hafizah.


Wahh, nice!
Wish I could attend such a course!
Blessed 2020.


Most welcome my friend, anytime!

(Winston Koh was one of those who assisted with the information and interview.)


That was an appreciative response.
I hope they will share with others what they've discovered.

CEDRIC COLLARS (writes from AUSTRALIA) said...

Hi Andy,

A Very Happy New Year 2020.
I'm glad you have a site reflecting the local music scene of the 60's.
This is the place where our youth can see and hear about a time gone by and even get to chat with some of the people who actually set the scene.

Thanks Andy.

SU GOH (writes from AUSTRALIA) said...

Congrats Andy,
for bridging the gap of two generations thru music.


nice piece.


Thanks for featuring us Andy.

(Clifford was a participant in the above interview.)


There was more creativity during the 60's, whether it's English, Malay, Indian or Chinese music, which I don't see with out musicians these days.

I don't hear any hit songs anymore by local musicians,
except for artists like Tanya Chua and JJ Lin.
It's Deadsville from the Malay side.

Most of our hit songs are not written by people with music degrees.
Most are self taught, and it comes from the heart.

It's happening in the world too,
total production music.

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Thanks to Paul, a friend who started off as a singer for the Velvetones.
We kept our friendship, stayed friends but lost touch.
Now he's back and has been supporting the blog ever since.

We need to take heed what Paul wrote. Songs from the heart is what SG needs: about love, loss, being, becoming and life itself.


Hey Andy!

Hooray to Paul Ibrahm.
He is so spot on.
Great analysis of our current musical state, Paul!


It's not just the lack of songs.
The wheels of the music industry are not turning.

The cogs in the gears such as recording companies, contracts, live club, mall,
hotel, concert promotions/shows, radio air play, TV spots, AnR agents, and so many
other sectors that make the industry work and creat public interest are non-existent.

Above all the sterile social state of Singapore is certainly not conducive in eliciting songs of love, love lost, hate, protest and other emotions that may be somewhere in the souls of the population.

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Your comments have always been invaluable, truthful and raw.

Yes our place is certainly going sterile...
Thanks Horace and all others who commented.

HORACE WEE said...

I mean just how many songs can be written on Singapore:
My home sweet home/I love my island paradise/With all people living in harmony -
without sounding contrite!

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

It is interesting how well-written essays encourage a discussion.


So inspiring, rightfully so, teaching and learning is a lifelong process.

Your blog has created a safe space for discussion as well!

So thank you for creating a conducive environment for it.


Wow I wished I knew enough about the music industry in the past to engage in this discussion.

FL said...

Andy, it is great to hear the young ones (students) found your blog with interest and enthusiasm. So, we must spread words around that your blog (Sixties music)is also for the young ones not just oldies like us. It is good the students are putting up a project about your blog. May Year 2020 brings more good happenings to all.

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Hi FL,
You always have supportive points about the blog and I am grateful. If the young ones today appreciate the blog and need information about Singapore music from the 60's and 70's they are always free to write in.

What little information I have, I'll try to share with anyone. What's more important is getting other music makers together to help build a proper understanding of the art (or industry if you wish) for those interested.

Again, many thanks FL for your quiet but strong support all these years. It's readers like you that keep me going, and contributing writers that keep the information genuine but not flawless.



Indeed very interesting blog of information.

RONALD HO said...

You are contributing to Singapore music scene and history in a way no one has ever done or is doing. Incredible that you are doing out of passion and not monetary gain. My respect and salute to you.



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Herry Jusuf
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ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Thanks everyone else for this tremendous response.
I've been doing this meet the students session for some years now.
Some of them have been posted while others I have left out for obvious reasons.

Living in a time warp is different from appreciating music that you love, music that you grew up with. One is trying to go back to the past and wanting to live during that period again; the other is just loving music from a by-gone era.

It's unhealthy wanting to life again; it's healthy to appreciate popular pop music. It's nostalgia. I honestly see nothing wrong with it.