An award-winning composer who founded the TO Ensemble, Tze Toh helped paved the way for other classical artists in Singapore who dare push the envelope through experimenting andOn October 13, 2016 / By Arman Shah
An award-winning composer who founded the TO Ensemble, Tze Toh helped paved the way for other classical artists in Singapore who dare push the envelope through experimenting and fusing different sounds together. Here, he discusses his group’s upcoming performance at the 2016 Singapore International Festival of Music (SIFOM).
How did you get your start in music? Is it true that you were self-taught?
When I was 10, my mother asked if I wanted to take classical piano lessons with my sister. I‘ve always been curious and inquisitive as a kid, so I thought why not. Those lessons didn’t last very long, though; I was already asking our teacher if I could play her something that I had composed. *laughs*
Yes, I’m pretty much self-taught. I’ve been composing and improvising on the piano ever since I was 10; I guess that’s why my perspective on music is very different from everyone else’s. Everything in this universe is mathematical, and there’s always a logic to things, so that’s how I was able to work out my own audio-visual approach to the instrument.
How did the TO ensemble first come together to make music?
I initially had two groups that experimented with fusion music – one combined Jazz with Indian music, while the other combined Chinese with other forms of improvised music. I eventually combined both groups to create Tze n Looking Glass, the ensemble’s original name that was partly inspired by the otherworldly journeys of Alice in Wonderland.
Violinist Lazar T. Sebastine and saxophonist Teo Boon Chye are the two key members of the group. I don’t think that music can happen unless you really connect with another person, so I’ve been very fortunate to have played music with them these past 10 years. Over time, new key musicians and soloists have also joined us, including violist Benjamin Wong and violinist Christina Zhou, who is now our assistant music director.
You won first prize in a prestigious UK songwriting competition in 2011. What did that experience teach you about being a Singaporean musician?
That whole experience was great because it helped put our multi-cultural way of life on the world map. I’m Chinese, but I actually won the competition with an original fusion piece that combined jazz and South Indian music. That reflects how comfortable we are as a society, with everyone immersed in different cultures, from the food we eat to the traditional festivities we celebrate.
What changes have you seen in Singapore’s music scene over the years?
We started performing original fusion music at the Esplanade around eight to nine years ago, and I have noticed that our audiences here have grown more open-minded when it comes to new and experimental music.
Back then, if people came across one of our outdoor performances, they will leave after 10 seconds if they don’t think that they can understand our music. Now, people will sit and listen for a while to give the music a chance. I think that’s fantastic, because when you have a society that’s open-minded, that’s when anything is possible.
What’s your approach to creating music? Describe the creative process.
When I create new work, I usually write with the musician performing it in mind. Christina and Benjamin, for example, are wonderful interpreters of music. When I compose music for them, I know that my musical narrative will come through. Lazar and Boon Chye on the other hand are incredible improvisers; they add this unpredictable and exhilarating texture to my music with their Carnatic and jazz bebop improvisations.
You’ll be performing at the Singapore International Festival of Music this October. What can audience members expect at your show?
We are presenting our new audio-film work “… And There was N0th1ng”, which is a concert of live music accompanied by sound design and video animation. It explores a complicated relationship between Man and Machine, and is inspired by Mamoru Oshii’s animated film “Ghost in the Shell” and Issac Asimov’s “Foundation and I, Robot” series.
We are definitely excited and particularly proud to be presenting our music in Singapore. I think it’s going to be fun and interesting because I don’t think many people will be expecting a fusion of jazz and Indian at a classical music festival. *laughs*
What message do you want to convey through your music?
I do hope our music is a reminder that as human beings, we are one single race. Regardless of our nationality, race or religion, we all share more in common than we often realise. Music is a perfect example.. If we focus on our similarities rather than differences, I think we are one step closer to creating a better world and realising our potential as a race.
Coming 5th November, Zouk Singapore will be holding its first ever run, The Zouk Run, kick starting a series of closing activities in anticipation of the big moveOn October 12, 2016 / By Nookmag
Coming 5th November, Zouk Singapore will be holding its first ever run, The Zouk Run, kick starting a series of closing activities in anticipation of the big move to its new digs at Clarke Quay. Conceived as a leisure run that seeks to capture the essence of Zouk’s unique party experience and a celebration of its Jiak Kim Street home of 25 years, The Zouk Run will take participants on a lap dotted with surprises, flagging off and rounding up at the club.
The second home to many dance music lovers for the past 25 years, Zouk is known as the rite of passage for most young adults as they come of age. Over the years, the club has amassed a generation of revelers that have celebrated dance and music together.
Organized in partnership with events agency, Pink Apple, The Zouk Run is primed as a concept to reach out to past and present clubbers, as well as younger audiences that have yet to experience the magic of #ZoukAtJiakKim. The event is a celebratory run that aims to bring together generations of dance music lovers to commemorate the Jiak Kim warehouse as they stride forward to the club’s future at Clarke Quay.
Open to all ages, the 3km fun run will take a route around the Jiak Kim vicinity on the evening of 5 November. Upon every registration, all participants will be entitled to a themed race pack of choice that comes with a specially designed T-shirt and a special party prop. The choices of themes include Mambo King, Podium Queen, The Shuffler, and The Musichead. Promising to incorporate party elements into the run, participants can expect to be delighted by surprises that revelers will find familiar in Zouk.
Available for the night only, limited edition Zouk Run merchandise will be up for purchase at the end point back at the club. The race village will also have food vendors where participants can re-energize post-run. Runners above 16 years will receive complimentary entry to the after-party that will be held at Velvet Underground – Dance, while runners above 18 years will also get free entry to all Zouk dance rooms for the night.
“This is the first run that we have ever organized and we are extremely excited about this,” says Sofie Chandra, Head of Marketing and Events, Zouk Consulting Pte Ltd. “The Zouk brand has always been an identity of music and celebration. With The Zouk Run, we really want to highlight this aspect and gather generations of past, present and future Zouk lovers as we move along to the new space at Clarke Quay,” she adds.
Registrations for The Zouk Run is now open and interested participants can sign-up here.
The Zouk Run
( 5 November 2016 | 5pm onwards )
17 Jiak Kim Street
#ZoukSingapore, #ZoukAtJiakKim, #TheZoukRun
SGD48.00 (1 – 30 October)
*All Citibank card members will stand to receive a 10% discount
by entering the first six digits of their credit card number in the “Promo Code” field.
Race Pack Collection
( 29 & 30 October 2016 | 11AM – 5PM )
Red Tail Bar
3C River Valley Road, #01-04
The Zouk Run t-shirt
Special party prop
Goodies from sponsors
*Free entry to all outlets for all participant 18 years of age and above.
*Free entry to Velvet Underground – Dance for participants 16 – 17 years of age.
Hailing from Germany’s capital of musicals, Hamburg-based ensemble Elbipolis has pushed boundaries and established a name for itself for its harmonious blend of Barock Lounge Baroque and electro.On October 11, 2016 / By Arman Shah
Hailing from Germany’s capital of musicals, Hamburg-based ensemble Elbipolis has pushed boundaries and established a name for itself for its harmonious blend of Barock Lounge Baroque and electro. Here, the founder Jurgen Gross discusses the ensemble’s interpretation of classical music and upcoming show at the 2016 Singapore International Festival of Music (SIFOM).
When and how did Elbipolis first come together to make music?
I founded Elbipolis in 1996, but the current constellation of musicians came into being a few years later in 2004. From the very beginning, Elbipolis was concerned with presenting Hamburg’s rich musical repertoire of the baroque era to the public. In addition to that, the group shared an experimental nature that constantly looked for new ways of performing and for direct communication with the audience.
How is the classical music scene in Hamburg? Do you feel well accepted and embraced there as musicians?
Aside from its position as a musical city, Hamburg is an important centre for the international classical music scene, and I expect that with the opening of the Elbphilharmonie in 2017, the city’s status will be raised even further.
Being an independent ensemble, Elbipolis has made a name for itself in Hamburg as a special ensemble for old music. Notable performances have been in conjunction with the north German radio series “Das Alte Werk” as well as a continuous presence at the Schleswig-Holstein music festival. Now Elbipolis has been able to bring its own concert form “Barock Lounge” to life, in co-operation with the Norddeutscher Rundfunk.
What inspires your music?
Elbipolis’ music is first and foremost the result of the spirit of the ensemble as well as the atmosphere created by all of our individual members. We believe that inspiration comes when all our musicians are at ease with each other and can communicate on a musical level.
You collaborated with DJ Brezel Goring for “Elbipolis /Barock Lounge – Outer Space”. What was it like working with him?
Brezel Göring lives in Berlin and is part of the legendary duo Stereo Total. Working with an electronic musician was completely new territory for us, and vice versa – this is also his first time working with a baroque orchestra. He expertly answered the question on how to edit our music, because “rhythms” and “loops” cannot be used for music with such complicated harmonies and varying speeds.
Why is it important for you to reinvent and reinterpret classical music?
This isn’t an easy question for me to answer, because classical music has always been a large part of my musical life and has long been central to my understanding of the arts and culture. Even today, there is always new, completely unknown music to be discovered, especially from the era of the 17th and 18th centuries. This music is unbelievably beautiful and we want to share it with the public.
You’ll be performing at the Singapore International Festival of Music in October. How do you feel about your upcoming gig?
We’re very pleased to have been invited to the international festival and are looking forward to the trip. Of course, we’re excited to meet the people and get a taste of their understanding of their own musical culture. Although we will only be there for a short space of time, we hope to be able to partake in as much cultural exchange as possible.
Have you been to Singapore before? What are your expectations of the city?
No, I have never been to Singapore. I’m really looking forward to getting a feel for the place. I have heard that the city is very well cared for and that the people are accommodating and friendly. It will definitely be a great experience!
Since its inception in 2002, E-TracX’s mission has been to create champions and unite communities. By working with dedicated and experienced instructors that include Edwin, Koflow, Perk Pietrek,On October 2, 2016 / By Nookmag
Since its inception in 2002, E-TracX’s mission has been to create champions and unite communities. By working with dedicated and experienced instructors that include Edwin, Koflow, Perk Pietrek, and Felix Hoo, as well as inspirational students who have gone ahead and won various awards hosted by magazines or at competitions (some have even represented Singapore on the world stage!), E-TracX is now proudly known as “A FAMILY OF CHAMPIONS”.
BEATMKRZ x Skratch Jam : 2nd Edition
Next Sunday, 9 October, E-TracX proudly presents the second edition in its BEATMKRZ series, BeatMkrz x Skratch Jam; a showcase event featuring a night of experimental fun and electrifying beats. The evening begins with a Skratch Jam session from 5pm to 8pm, and ends on a high note with showcases by E-TracX instructors Koflow and Perk Pietrek, as well as students Direwulf, Chao, Ethan Lian, Ms Yeap, and RuxtA in BEATMKRZ from 8pm to 9pm.
Skratch Jam @ Kult Kafé (5pm-8pm)
Conceptualised in 2003, the jams are held for participants to share their ideas and learn new techniques from each other in a fun and non-competitive environment. Likewise, these jam sessions have also been great networking opportunities, especially for budding artists, with impromptu collaborative showcases sprouting from connections made during these events.
Although this event has traditionally been held indoors at E-TracX’s DJ studio, occasionally bringing the stage out into the open (such as next weekend!) allows interested viewers and passers-by to comfortably see all the action behind the turntable without being crushed in a small cheek-to-cheek space. And the best news? Everyone gets a chance to try their hand at Skratching! This is one time we don’t have to be a pro to look like one! *grin*
* DJs – please bring your own stylus, slipmats, and skratch records.
* Everyone else – try your hand at skratching or come enjoy the music!
BEATMKRZ @ Kult Kafé (8pm-9pm)
Dedicated to showcasing the creative works of up and coming DJs, as well as Electronic Music Producers in the scene, BEATMKRZ presents its audience with an aural & visual treat as these artists excite your senses with their original tracks, and live sets.
Instead of just playing 1 track after another, this series encourages DJs to be more creative while constantly trying something new by remixing and creating their own music tracks, and performing them live. Be it a solo performance or a collaboration, these young artists are pushed to their creative limits in Turntablism and Controllerism showcases during their BEATMKRZ performance. While being a platform for DJs to showcase their skills, the ultimate aim of this series is to inspire enthusiasts to get a move on, and put their skills to the test!
This edition of BEATMKRZ presents…
Direwulf (E-TracX Student)
Direwulf is a DJ/Producer who has previously played at venues such as, St. James Power Station, Canvas Club, Azzura, Sauce Bar, as well as for the 100+50 Bands Festival in Singapore. Embarking to break convention and recreate Electronica by combining elements of 20th Century Classical, Oriental Chinese and Industrial Metal music with raving synths and thumping 909, the results of his experimentation are showcased in his 2015 EP, The Beginning, which is also his delineation of Electronic Dance Music.
On this evening, Direwulf will be performing 3 of his original tracks (from The Beginning EP) live, with support from Brandon Khoo (Drums), Johnny Chia (Gu Zheng), Kan Zi Jun (Er Hu), as well as musicians from Vivienne’s Verdict.
Chao, Ethan Lian, Ms Yeap, and RuxtA (E-TracX Students)
Performing as a collaborative group this evening, Chao, Ethan Lian, Ms Yeap, and RuxtA are local DJs who have played at venues such as, Zouk, SPACE Club, Avalon, HOME Club, Tanjong Beach Bar, as well as the KL Hip Hop Festival @ Hartamas (KUL), and the River Festival @ Clarke Quay (SIN). Their showcase for the night will be a Turntablism and Controllerism group routine.
As the evening ends off with showcases by E-TracX instructors Koflow and Perk Pietrek, stay tuned for a night to remember. Come catch them live before they become international stars!
Sunday, 9 October
Early last month, 6 music videos featuring undiscovered music acts in Malaysia and Thailand have been unveiled by Tiger JAMS, the newly minted music platform of Tiger BeerOn October 1, 2016 / By Nookmag
Early last month, 6 music videos featuring undiscovered music acts in Malaysia and Thailand have been unveiled by Tiger JAMS, the newly minted music platform of Tiger Beer that stages collaborations between undiscovered music talents, acclaimed music acts and visual artists.
“Home to You”
An original track created by budding musician Rozella (MY) in collaboration with acclaimed act Darren Ashley (MY), and visual artist Flex (SG), “Home to You” is just one of the 6 videos that showcase the result of collaboration forged through unexpected connections between musicians and artists sparked from the music platform. Since May 2016, over 5,000 participants and over 250,000 votes have flooded into Tiger Jams.
“Tiger JAMS has pushed me outside of my comfort zone and forced me to step up as an artist. Ever since our video debut, there has been a growing interest from the local media and the public about our music, and we are extremely excited about the possibilities of what that may bring. We aim to use this opportunity to create more and do our part in developing the local music scene,” said Malaysian singer songwriter, Rozella.
Six undiscovered musicians – Rozella, Son of a Policeman, Donamarie from Malaysia, and Mirrr, Monkey Business and 23’O from Thailand – were shortlisted from the platform.
“Each music video is a work of deep collaboration, an experimentation in exploring new possibilities of sights and sounds of Asia, and a testament to the unexpected connections forged and magic that is sparked when different creative talents are brought together – regardless of background or language differences,” said Mie-Leng Wong, Global Director Tiger Beer at Heineken Asia Pacific Breweries.
All six tracks made their public debut at the #TigerJams Centerstage events with headliner
CHVRCHES in Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok, on 2 and 3 September respectively. More information can be found at Tiger Jams.
Tiger Jams Music Videos
The current local music scene is flourishing quickly and if you are looking for some soulful jams to crawl out of that music listening-rut you have found yourselfOn September 29, 2016 / By Alicia Tham
The current local music scene is flourishing quickly and if you are looking for some soulful jams to crawl out of that music listening-rut you have found yourself in, then look no further. Doves & Ravens, a local 3-piece groove pop band was formed in 2013. Made up of Moses Wong, who plays bass, Kenneth Qua and Edwin Wong who both sing and play guitar, read on as the band sits with us to tell us more about songwriting, recording and what inspires them!
How did you guys meet and what is the story behind the name “Doves & Ravens?
Edwin and Kenneth met in church and collaborated for a few years writing music and playing shows together before forming Doves & Ravens. The band experimented with a few other members but Moses was a perfect fit when it came to writing material and playing killer basslines. We got the name from thinking about how we all have a good and dark side, and thought these 2 birds represent it well.
Share a memory you guys had that influenced your music the most!
Once, we were confronted on how different we were in the local scene because we enjoyed playing pop music, and that we should change our genre. But we realised that it just reinforced how much we wanted to just play our music and not care about what others wanted us to be.
Congratulations on the success of your recent gig! How was it like playing in front of fans?
Thank you! I think most of our fans are also our friends. And that makes it even more special. We are always amazed when people actually take time to come out and be with us. Very thankful.
I enjoy your personal works and they are brilliant! Where do you draw inspirations from, and how long does it usually take to produce each song?
We draw inspirations from a lot of genres, each of us have different styles and we all try to bring something different to the table. Kenneth is more into pop and hip-hop, while Edwin and Moses are huge fans of Muse and Red Hot Chili Peppers.
We think production is an ongoing process, that can take as long as it has to. It’s a mixture of searching for inspiration (listening to more music), trial and error, and pure perseverance. It took us up to a year to find a vibe that we were satisfied with for Poison (which is a track on our album)!
Are you guys looking to break into the International scene? Which country’s event would you guys want to play at when it happens?
Definitely. We’re always pushing for our music to go past these shores. Right now we are happy to just keep writing music and share it as much as we can. Our dream will always be the Glastonbury Festival!
Do you guys have any advice for people who wish to start chasing their dreams as a musician?
I would say work hard on your craft, keep loving music and enjoy yourself. If you are a songwriter, then finish that first song and publish it. The world needs to hear it.
Where can we find your music?
You can get our debut album ‘Wonder’ on iTunes or stream it on Spotify. You can also follow us on Facebook to keep up to date with us.
Give us a parting gift – A one liner/quote that you hold dear.
All these dark necessities are part of my design.
A day of yoga, music, dance and #soulcircle community bonding at Singapore’s Most Iconic Mindful Movement Event on 1 October. SOULSCAPE : Singapore’s Most Iconic Mindful Movement FestivalOn September 27, 2016 / By Nookmag
A day of yoga, music, dance and #soulcircle community bonding at Singapore’s Most Iconic Mindful Movement Event on 1 October.
SOULSCAPE : Singapore’s Most Iconic Mindful Movement Festival returns to Tanjong Beach, Sentosa on 1 October, 2016. It is a day of mindful movement, music, great fun, and magical moments for our Mindful, Motivated, and Savvy #soulcircle community to discover their soulscape. Started in 2014 to bring together like-minded individuals and grow a conscious community, this year’s festival features 20 workshops for fully discovering and nourish the mind, body and soul with mindful movement, soulful rhythms, and holistic wellness.
Says SOULSCAPE CEO Marc Dass, “Our goal is to nurture the growth of mindful communities, encourage the exploration of the landscape within each of us, and form a connection to the collective consciousness.”
Workshops of note include :
The highlight of the day is a 75-minute Sunset Yoga led by Denise Keller. For full event lineup, check out the Soulscape day schedule. There will also be hydration zones with coconut water from COCOMAX, food and retail vendors in The Village, and a Kids’ Zone with activities for the little ones. Over at the SoulFire lounge, a Tiki bar will serve special cacao and coconut inspired cocktails, freshly brewed coffee, and a power smoothie bar.
This year, the event goes cashless for the first time with smart wristbands for entry, and F&B and retail purchases at The Village. The ticket wristband is preloaded with SGD8 at the moment of purchase. Likewise, more credits can be added to the ticket wristbands and lunch can be pre-ordered at the same time.
Another first is the concept of #soulcircle pop events in the weeks leading up to festival day, which are free to SOULSCAPE Festival ticket holders. Details of #soulcircle events are updated at the Soulcircle webpage.
Saturday, 1 October 2016 @ 8am-8pm
Tanjong Beach, Sentosa
VIP Full Day @ SGD199
Full Day @ SGD159
Sunset Yoga (5.45pm-7pm) @ SGD59
* With every three tickets purchased, the fourth is free.
Goody bag value
VIP Full Day – SGD100
Full Day and Sunset Yoga – SGD50
The first of its kind, INDIGOISM introduces brain entrainment to the public through this digital showcase piece combining binaural beats produced by Jean Reiki (Mind of the Cosmos),On September 23, 2016 / By Nookmag
The first of its kind, INDIGOISM introduces brain entrainment to the public through this digital showcase piece combining binaural beats produced by Jean Reiki (Mind of the Cosmos), and virtual reality by Warrior9 through the immersive digital experience that is DRONE.
DRONE is a short sampling meant as an introduction to brain entrainment, a technique that stimulates the brain into specific states such as enhanced concentration, relaxation, meditation or sleep induction using a pulsing sound, light or electromagnetic field. This project utilizes binaural beats through audio stimulation to evoke the brain’s ‘frequency following’ response encouraging brain waves to align to the frequency of the pulse, thus inducing the aforementioned altered states.
The DRONE project contains traces of binaural beats in this 2-minute track. By then, the accompanying audio and visual elements would have occupied the senses fully, helping the individual relax with an end goal of escaping reality for just a little while.
Adding another artistic element to the project, the DRONE audio-visual booth was conceptualized by visual artists Soph O and Sam Lo (INDIGOISM). Taking cues from Archifest’s zero-waste theme, the booth features daybeds made from cardboard and other found packing materials from the artists’ studios. The result is a massive art jam featuring aural, digital and physical 3D artwork.
The DRONE Travels
Archifest 2016 @ Raffles Place
24- 30 September 2016, 9am-7pm
The brainwave entrainment function only takes effect after an individual is continually exposed to binaural beats for at least 15 minutes. The DRONE project runs for a maximum of 2 minutes, and therefore has little to no effect on the individual. This project is meant as a sampling, an introduction to binaural beats and brain entrainment. If you would like to further explore brain entrainment and what it can do for you, do visit the archive of binaural beats by Mind of the Cosmos at INDIGOISM.
About the Elevate platform by INDIGOISM:
Elevate is an experimental platform under the INDIGOISM umbrella focusing on soundscapes and digital arts. It was created based on research that demonstrates the mind’s ability to alter states through exposure to different frequencies. Not to be mistaken for the familiar, each beat/ mix was formulated based on these principles :
Elevate is a constant work in progress, a research project as we learn more about these methods in restoring balance to the inner core. Each beat is different and reception to these beats may differ from individual to individual.
For more information on binaural beats and the Elevate project, visit :
A social enterprise set up as a collaborative platform to build a community based on togetherness, sustainability and wonder. They realise projects that go against the grain to open up new possibilities and offer alternative views of the world around us in an effort to investigate and better our understanding of the nature of things.
The projects they embark on are collective efforts of the creative community bound together by similar mindsets and a common end goal. The themes and mediums they create with are vast and varied, each serving as an artwork in its own right; a reaction and reflection of our current times.
While hoping to create a self-sustainable model where social and environmental well-being are maximised in creating new products and introducing engaging experiences with their collaborators, in the process, they create a wide network of collaborators of whom they are blessed to call their community, who they constantly work with to realise new ideas, and new possibilities.
About the Artists:
Race Krehel has been living and working in Singapore for 8 years in a wide spectrum of visual arts. From creating content and executing world class events for global brands, making music videos for local acts, outfitting the biggest clubs in the region with cutting edge projection mapping and visuals or creating interactive installations, Race has been heavily involved in the SE Asian creative scene on all levels. Currently he is working at Warrior9 where he is using the latest technology to bring stories to life through the medium of Virtual Reality.
Passionate about film and its power to transform us, Warrior9 was created by a scriptwriter, a producer and a filmmaker because of a shared belief that “changing the world frame by frame” is not only possible, it is imperative.
Jean Reiki / Mind of the Cosmos
Born and raised in Singapore, DJ and producer Jean Reiki was a vinyl-collector who stumbled upon Hard Hops and Nu-Skool Breaks at the tail-end of the 90s. Her style of DJing gradually developed, resulting in a wide gamut of musical genres in her sets and cemented her a place at London’s Point Blank’s Top Female DJs and Ones To Watch for 2012. To date, Reiki has a quarterly mixshow residency on Lush 99.5 FM radio. She is also 1/3 of DatDatDat, running ad hoc nights welcoming an array of guests to crank up a heady mix of party vibes.
Music curation aside, her compositions and remixes gained notable attention with her work featured in far corners of the world, from Nick Luscombe’s Late Junction playlist on BBC Radio 3, Shiso Room on FutureMusicFM, Copenhagen’s The Lake radio, Berlin’s Not Your Girlfriend show on BLM.FM, Hyper Juice show on Japan’s Block FM, Stateside’s Gizmodo Home of The Future and San Jose Museum of Art, producers showcase on Malaysia’s Midnight Oil to local film trailer, ‘Trash Heaven’. Other work has garnered her the 3rd spot at the Creative Destruction Contest organised by the Peranakan Museum Singapore and nominations for the ‘Best Genre Bender’ category at the Asia music awards, VIMA.
Always exploring new terrain, she has collaborated with ethnic instrumentalists, SA to herald improvisation over one another’s material in Sonic Sessions Vol.1, a live performance streaming to an online audience via Stageit platform. 2016 also sees her releasing binaural beats + 3D nature and ambient music hybrid for the Elevate label by Indigoism and a Soundart EP entitled ‘Whimsy’.
Continuing their successful series of annual public concerts, this year NUS Symphony Orchestra (NUSSO) pays homage to the virtuosic soundtracks of film classics in “Symphony in the ParkOn September 21, 2016 / By Nookmag
Continuing their successful series of annual public concerts, this year NUS Symphony Orchestra (NUSSO) pays homage to the virtuosic soundtracks of film classics in “Symphony in the Park : Screen Gems.” NUSSO will be playing multiple scores from John Williams and Hans Zimmer, conducted by maestro Lim Soon Lee and the young soloist Ronan Lin.
Join us in an evening of reliving these alternate worlds on 24 September 2016, 6pm at the UNESCO World Heritage site Botanic Gardens. The soundtracks of classics include the beautific piece from Jurassic Park that everyone can hum from memory, the contemporary pop-culture phenomena Harry Potter’s theme, the adrenaline pumping chase between good and evil in Batman : The Dark Knight Rises, as well the immensely impressionable cult-classic, Star Wars medley.
Bring along your mats and food for a picnic with your family, and join us in enjoying the beautiful music!
Symphony in the Park : Screen Gems
Shaw Foundation Symphony Stage,
Singapore Botanic Gardens
Saturday, 24 September @ 6pm | Free Admission
JOHN WILLIAMS Star Wars (Suite for Orchestra)
JOHN WILLIAMS Theme from Schindler’s List
JOHN WILLIAMS Harry’s Wondrous World from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
HANS ZIMMER ARR. RALPH FORD The Dark Knight Rises
JOHN WILLIAMS Theme from Jurassic Park
After slaying it as a six-time DJ Battle Champion at 16 and emerging first-runner up during the Singapore DMC DJ Championships in 2010, Perk Pietrek (pronounced pie-trek) isOn September 15, 2016 / By Arman Shah
After slaying it as a six-time DJ Battle Champion at 16 and emerging first-runner up during the Singapore DMC DJ Championships in 2010, Perk Pietrek (pronounced pie-trek) is ready to expand his horizons. In this interview, the prodigious DJ from Singapore shares the excitement of releasing his brand new track “Busy Gyal” through Far East Movement’s record label with Arman Shah.
What inspired the name Perk Pietrek as your stage moniker?
It’s a simple idea, really. My real name is Pietrek, so I removed the alternate letters to get Perk. Perk actually used to be my old moniker during my DJ battling days when I was about 15 and 16. I combined both Perk and Pietrek together ever since I decided to establish myself as an artiste instead of just a DJ.
It’s funny because the name confuses people sometimes. Some think that Perk Pietrek consists of two people, and some just have trouble pronouncing it. I love it though! As long it gets people thinking, I think that’s awesome.
How did you get your start in music? What motivated you to become a DJ?
Like most people, I grew up listening to music. I used to be in the school band and played the trumpet as a kid. I even went to get my own saxophone, which I still have at home to this very day. I guess being constantly involved with music at a young age allowed me to use it as a shelter from many things in my life.
I was 13 when I came across the DJ world, and I went into music production at 16 because that felt like the natural progression. Through music, I wanted to be able to influence people in a positive way, inspire like-minded people and, of course, convey my energy and express myself, so it made sense to become a DJ.
You’ve made a commendable mark beyond Singapore with your brand of tropical bass. How has this signature sound of yours evolved over the years?
Thank you! Genuinely speaking, my sound is ever-changing, especially right now. I get inspired by so many different kinds of music, so I love it when I have full creative freedom to experiment with different sounds, get weird and express myself.
With that said, I do pay a lot of attention to drums. Interesting rhythms really get me going, so my sound usually revolves around getting that crisp, African-inspired percussion line. I’m a huge fan of drum corps as well. It gives me a feeling that I can’t describe, so I always try to convey that energy into my records or any of the shows that I’m playing.
What’s your approach to creating a song or record?
I’ve developed this habit of building ideas in my head whenever I’m travelling. It’s not just ideas for a particular song; I also enjoy visualising the artwork and having a story that carries the message behind a song that I’m going to create. It’s like expanding one song into a full package that portrays who I am as an artiste, and that definitely helps when I’m in the studio.
Did you face any challenges while producing your new track, “Busy Gyal”?
I was actually struggling with a creative block, and I went through this phase of just writing songs over and over again until I managed to break through my own barrier. I probably went through twenty different versions before I finally got Busy Gyal, so that was pretty intense.
Once I got the idea in my head, putting the song together happened freakishly quick. That’s just how it goes; some records happen instantaneously, while some might take a while. It really depends on the flow of things and how I’m feeling in the moment.
How did the collaboration with rapper Rocky Rivera on “Busy Gyal” come about, and what was it like working with her?
The first few drafts of the track actually featured tribal vocal samples because I was going for a very unique take on it. I was working on it constantly, but it just didn’t sound good to my ears; I wasn’t 100% satisfied. It felt like there was something lacking to give it an edge.
That was when I hit Rocky Rivera up via email and got her into the picture. I’m actually in awe of her. She’s an accomplished writer with Rolling Stones and a talented hip-hop artist. She’s based in the States, so we had to do everything over the Internet, from sharing ideas to sending snippets to one another. Her lyrics talk about her being unbothered by the way people judge her work ethics, so that really echoed my values as an artist too.
You’ll be releasing “Busy Gyal” via Far East Movement’s record label. How did this arrangement come about?
It all kicked off when Far East Movement hit me up to do a VIP remix of my track “Sleep is Over”. I’ve been sending them all of my new music for them to listen to since then. When I sent “Busy Gyal” over, they made a really quick decision to sign it immediately.
It’s still a little crazy for me to process that my name is now associated with artistes the likes of Far East Movement. This is a major opportunity for me to reach out to a wider audience with the push from their label. That’s what I’ve always wanted to do as an artist – share my work with as many people as possible and hopefully impact them in a positive manner.
What are your plans for the near future? Any gigs lined up?
We’re planning some big production shows locally and internationally, but we’re all still in the midst of discussions. Shows abroad might happen sooner than you’d think, so keep a lookout for the announcement on my social media channels like Facebook and Twitter. We’re probably going to get some merchandise done for the upcoming shows too, so it’s all good.
Any words of advice for those who aspire to be a DJ like you?
We always get caught up in so many things – both positive and negative – but I feel that it’s all about how you adapt to the situation and keep striving to improve yourself. We’re always wishing to be like someone else, but it’s also important to find out who you are and be yourself too. It’s easier said than done, but to be able to do your own thing and have fun is already a blessing, so just embrace the journey and be positive about it.
Listen to and download Perk Pietrek’s new song “Mirage” here.
Hailing from Bangkok, My Life as Ali Thomas has captivated a whole generation of youths from the Land of a Thousand Smiles with their brand of alternative rockOn September 14, 2016 / By Arman Shah
Hailing from Bangkok, My Life as Ali Thomas has captivated a whole generation of youths from the Land of a Thousand Smiles with their brand of alternative rock music. This September, the four-piece outfit is ready to capture the hearts of audiences beyond Thailand when they perform at Music Matters in Singapore. Here, lead vocalist Pie shares with Arman Shah the band’s journey before their debut show in the Lion City.
Who is Ali Thomas, and what inspired the band name?
“Ali Thomas” isn’t so much a person as she is an alter ego. It’s more of a pen name based on the idea of a parallel life. The name’s origin lies in Greek roots and translates to “another twin”, so the band name technically reads as “My Life as Another Twin”.
How did the band first come together to make music?
I started My Life as Ali Thomas as a solo project back in 2013 on SoundCloud, and was later introduced to Rack, a resident guitarist at a local bar at the time. We played a few gigs here and there before running into Oak, who later dragged Taw into this motley crew.
How would you describe your sound, and who are some of your musical influences?
Our sound is a bit of everything. We didn’t know each other when we started the band, so naturally our sound grew diverse because of our different musical backgrounds. I have more of an American folk sound, Rack grew up listening to Brit-Rock from the 90s, Oak leans more towards industrial and experimental, while Taw studied Jazz but puts more of a Rock twist to things.
You are currently recording your debut album. What has the process been like, and what can fans expect from this album?
We started recording our album almost two years ago. The process has definitely been an experience. This is the first time any of us got to record an album, although Oak and Taw did have some studio recording experiences before. Along the way, we hit a few bumps that caused a bit of delay; but, it’s finally finished now! It’s a full album featuring 10 songs that are quite different from one another; it’s definitely a mood swing album.
Your music videos have a very cinematic feel. Can you talk a little about the inspiration behind “Winter’s Love” and “Cordelia”?
“Winter’s Love” was actually a collaboration between us and 9MS. They’re a crew of film students studying in Prague, and one of them is a friend of Taw’s. They asked if they could use “Winter’s Love” for their film, and we said yes.
We didn’t title the project our “official” music video because we wanted to give them full creative freedom to interpret the song the way they saw it. The video turned out very nice and it surprisingly caught the song at its heart.
“Cordelia”, on the other hand, is our official video. I wrote the song from the sense that we’re always in search of that someone or something that’s close to our hearts yet was never quite in our possession, almost like a ghostly illusion, something you can feel but not hold on to. The music video conveyed just that.
The production team did a great job using the deer’s longing for that ghostly figure to portray the idea and carry the key emotion of the song.
How do you feel about performing at Music Matters in Singapore?
We’re very happy and honoured to have gotten the offer. Music Matters will be our very first show abroad, and for a local band from Bangkok to be given the opportunity to perform for an international crowd is so rare. We never thought this whole thing would have taken us this far. So yeah, we are definitely nervous but excited to be playing there soon.
Have you been to Singapore before? What are your expectations of the city?
We’ve never been to Singapore before. No expectations, but we’re dropping by Universal Studios for sure!
Asia’s premier music and dance festival, ZoukOut is back for another round of epic dusk to dawn revelry. This year, Singapore’s biggest electronic music party is set forOn September 2, 2016 / By Nookmag
Asia’s premier music and dance festival, ZoukOut is back for another round of epic dusk to dawn revelry. This year, Singapore’s biggest electronic music party is set for a super-sized sweet sixteen with the promise of delivering an all-encompassing festival experience by bringing together the very best of dance music within and beyond the borders of Singapore. A two-day outdoor festival of grand proportions, the 16th edition of ZoukOut will be held at Siloso Beach, Sentosa on the 9 and 10 December 2016.
Built on the “One World, One Music, One Tribe, One Dance” foundation that Zouk Singapore has been governed by throughout the 25 years of operations, ZoukOut was created with the intention of gathering a larger pool of music lovers beyond the limitations of an indoor space. Taking cues from the renowned motto, the 16th edition aims to reinforce and uphold the togetherness of the “One Tribe” value that ZoukOut will continue to thrive on.
With the expansion of ZoukOut across cities in Asia and the upcoming move of the club to Clarke Quay, the “One Tribe” theme remains to emphasize the identity of the festival and its mission to unify the like-minded people with one accord. Whether on local or foreign shores, the spirit of ZoukOut will always stay true to being together as one.
A homegrown festival that was born out of the love for dance music in 2000, ZoukOut has continued to grow in leaps over the years and has established itself as one of Asia’s biggest music festivals. This year, ZoukOut has expanded beyond the Singapore borders with its first foray in Boracay, Philippines on 30th April and 1st May 2016. A two-day beach event featuring headliners including the likes of Kaskade and DVBBS alongside other regional and local names, the debut amassed up to 8,000 attendees.
Coming 20th August 2016, ZoukOut will also be taking on Tokyo with the takeover of the Beach Stage at the annual Summer Sonic Tokyo 2016 with acts including Vinai, Sam Feldt, The Chainsmokers, and Zouk Singapore’s very own resident DJ, Zushan. In addition to the stage takeover, there will also be a ZoukOut After Party tie up that will be taking place at VIP club, Ele Tokyo.
Zoukout Girl Search 2016
A campaign face hunt launched alongside partnering agency, Basic Models, nineteen-year- old Angie Watkins was announced on the 30th of June as the ZoukOut Girl Search 2016 winner. Known as the Singapore representative for the latest installment of Asia’s Next Top Model, Watkins will be fronting the ZoukOut 2016 campaign and will be co-hosting the MTV EDM Countdown.
Besides the ZoukOut Girl Search, ZoukOut have also held a social media competition with the ZoukOut Singapore Girl 2016 People’s Choice. Social content creator, Chloe Choo, was selected as the crowd favourite.
First wave of headliners announced
Returning to the Singapore stage after last year’s solo I AM Hardwell gig at Gardens By The Bay, the legendary DJ and record producer Hardwell is set as one of the headliners at the ZoukOut 2016 stage. No stranger at major music festivals including the likes of Ultra and Tomorrowland, Hardwell has continued to dominate DJ Mag’s top 100 DJs poll three years in top three from 2013 at just twenty-eight. All thrillers and no fillers, dance music lovers will be swept with wave after wave of hardhitting anthems across a multitude of electronic styles.
Sprung to international status through his 2013 debut album Clarity which spawned hits “Clarity” featuring Foxes, and “Stay the Night” featuring Hayley Williams, Zedd has since established himself as one of the top DJs and music producers with his most recent “Top Dance/Electronic Album” win at the 2016 Billboard Music Awards. Expect Zedd to turn up the sandy shores with a heady arsenal of electro-laced pop that will progress into deeper cuts of electro house.
Twice winner of the Singapore Experience Awards’ Trade Event of the Year, All That Matters is returning for their 11th annual independent music festival. Kicking off on Monday SeptemberOn August 29, 2016 / By Nookmag
Twice winner of the Singapore Experience Awards’ Trade Event of the Year, All That Matters is returning for their 11th annual independent music festival. Kicking off on Monday September 12, and running alongside the industry conference every evening until Thursday September 15, the Music Matters festival promises to showcase some of the most promising up and coming bands from the APAC region and beyond.
Over the 4 nights, over thirty acts will take the stage and have the opportunity to perform in front of All That Matters delegates, including leading music industry executives. As in previous years, country specific showcases from the Asia Pacific region will feature as part of the festival schedule. This year, Music Matters has partnered with top Singapore live music venue Millian as showcase partner Tuesday through Thursday. All performances are open to the public and free to attend.
Country specific showcases including the ‘Aussie BBQ’ supported by Sounds Australia also return, bringing the best in Australian talent to Singapore.
Some of the featured bands at the festival this year include New Zealand’s Album of the Year winners in 2013, Aaradhna, Australian music act The Veronicas, whose hit ‘In My Blood’ topped the Australian charts and one of Indonesia’s biggest music stars Raisa. This year Music Matters will take place from 12 to 15 September, during the week between Ultra Singapore and the 2016 FORMULA 1 SINGAPORE AIRLINES SINGAPORE GRAND PRIX.
Music Matters has partnered with Singapore GP to give one Music Matters act the chance to take the stage at the Marina Bay Street Circuit! They will join a stellar lineup of international superstar acts including Queen and Adam Lambert, Imagine Dragons and Kylie Minogue. After a vote amongst top music industry executives, Aaradhna was selected to perform at the Sunset Stage in Zone 1 on 16 September 2016.
The world’s premier electronic music festival Ultra Singapore will also incorporate Australian act Slumberjack from the Music Matters lineup into their schedule, joining huge international names such as Alesso and Deadmau5.
Timbre Music returns as the official event partner to the festival, providing production services for performances and also unique, intimate venues across Singapore. Look out for these acts and more to be announced appearing at Barber Shop, Timbre Music Academy, Switch and Timbre @ The Substation, for the duration of the festival.
ULTRA Worldwide, brings its full-scale, two-day festival experience to Singapore. Taking place this September 10 and 11, the eagerly anticipated music festival includes some of the hottest local and regionalOn August 28, 2016 / By Nookmag
ULTRA Worldwide, brings its full-scale, two-day festival experience to Singapore. Taking place this September 10 and 11, the eagerly anticipated music festival includes some of the hottest local and regional acts to shake up the music scene, bolstering a world-class showcase of headliners like Above & Beyond, Afrojack, Alesso, Axwell^Ingrosso, deadmau5, Kygo, NERO (Live), DJ Snake and Zhu.
Check out the ULTRA Singapore 2016 teaser!
While ULTRA Singapore is a truly international collection of the world’s biggest and best DJs and Live Acts, it is also a stage for the local talents to shine on an international platform, gaining a wider audience from the throng of festival goers over the two days. Homegrown talents on show include the likes of MYRNE, who at the tail end of 2015 signed on to Diplo’s Mad Decent label; Shigga Shay, who just performed at the Whitehouse State dinner in Washington D.C.; Rave Republic, the only locally based DJ-duo to grace the main stage; and award-winning local favourite band, The Sam Willows.
Flying the Korean flag on the LIVE Stage is Jay Park and Hyolyn, while countrymen Justin Oh and Raiden will follow up on their performances at Ultra Music Festival in Miami, ULTRA Korea and ULTRA Europe from earlier this year as they play the Main Stage. Australian Slumberjack – who are set to appear at ULTRA Singapore’s official partner event ‘Music Matters’ later in the week –also brings their signature bass-fuelled sounds to the Live Stage, as does South African born Cara Frew, whose new single Invisible has maintained the Number One spot on the @5fm radio charts for 7 consecutive weeks.
The two-day extravaganza will take place at the spectacular ULTRA Park venue hosted in the heart of the city at 1 Bayfront Avenue. Situated right across from the Marina Bay Sands Hotel, this event will be the first of its kind to be held at the waterside venue. The site will feature three of ULTRA Worldwide’s most beloved stages in the form of the Main, LIVE and RESISTANCE stages.
ULTRA Singapore marks the start of ULTRA Worldwide’s second Asia run this year. With ULTRA Korea and a SOLD OUT Road To Ultra Thailand event having already taken place in June, part two will see the brand undertake six more stops this September in Singapore, Taiwan, Japan, Hong Kong, Bali and the Philippines all within a two-week span – a festival first and a feat no other event organizer can lay claim to.
Much to the delight of thousands of trance loving Ultranauts, the lineup includes UK super group Above & Beyond, who will be touching down in Singapore to deliver what will surely be an electrifying performance. To add, Swedish superstar Alesso, who, having headlined the first and only Road to ULTRA Singapore to rapturous acclaim, will return for a second year in a row. Just off the back of releasing his debut album, the enigmatic producer ZHU will be performing at his first ever ULTRA Worldwide event, and is guaranteed to bring his finely curated catalogue of new music along for all those lucky enough to be in attendance.
The RESISTANCE lineup will also see Nicole Moudaber, Reboot, Shaded (Live) and Technasia bring the very best that the techno world has to offer directly to Singapore. Three more of electronic music’s most exciting acts will also join the billing, as Carnage, Gryffin and W&W each prepare to bring their own spin to proceedings.
Tickets for ULTRA Singapore are available now. With Early Bird tickets for the event sold out, fans will have to move fast in order to snap up the last remaining Advance Tickets that are on sale now and priced at SGD175 USD, with Premium General Admission Tickets available at SGD200 USD. One-day tickets are also now available, priced at SGD105 USD, with Premium Admission Tickets priced at SGD120 USD. In a new initiative, group tickets are now on sale, with those who purchase five tickets at once receiving a sixth for free.
ZALORA brings you official ULTRA Singapore merchandise
ZALORA will be providing festivalgoers with a comprehensive shopping experience, both online and offline. Browse all ULTRA merchandise, produced in-house, and get them in time for the party on ZALORA’s website.
The 26piece collection features t-shirts and tank tops with the recognisable ULTRA logo embossed on both sides. Additionally, the women’s range includes exclusive, unique pieces that reflect music festival trends, such as tie-dyed fringe tops, raw edge tank tops and cropped tops. Complementing the unisex apparel line are trucker caps with a mesh design as well as reflective sunglasses in eyecatching colours of neon pink, red, purple and black with lime green piping. Prices range from SGD19.90 for a pair of sunglasses to SGD34.90 for a t-shirt.
ULTRA merchandise will also be made available at the festival itself. To reward ardent ULTRA fans, the official ULTRA lineup tee will only be sold at the ZALORA merchandise booth over the two days.
For more information about tickets and the lineup for ULTRA Singapore, stay tuned to ULTRA Singapore’s website.
Japan-listed lifestyle and entertainment company Koshidaka Holdings, opens its Asian karaoke flagship outlet in Orchard Cineleisure, Singapore. Termed Ganso (which means Founder or Pioneer), this Manekineko outlet willOn August 27, 2016 / By Nookmag
Japan-listed lifestyle and entertainment company Koshidaka Holdings, opens its Asian karaoke flagship outlet in Orchard Cineleisure, Singapore. Termed Ganso (which means Founder or Pioneer), this Manekineko outlet will be the seventh in Singapore and the largest in Asia, with 80 newly furnished karaoke rooms, 5 VIP rooms with pool tables and a 150 pax capacity function hall for holding company and private events.
Ganso Manekineko Orchard Cineleisure is the largest karaoke outlet in Asia – and the karaoke outlet in Singapore with all-you-can-eat spread of local, Japanese and international offerings. There are more than 150,000 songs in its library to choose from, updated fortnightly.
Koshidaka Holdings made in-roads into Singapore in September 2015 when it launched its Manekineko Karaoke Chain, after acquiring shares in K Box Entertainment. K Box is a subsidiary of Koshidaka Holdings. By establishing Manekineko in Singapore as a proven business model and showcase, Koshidaka Holdings hopes to springboard its expansion into ASEAN within the coming year, with plans to introduce outlets in Europe and North America as well. Here in Singapore, they will continue to proactively scout for suitable locations to expand the chain. Koshidaka Holdings, which has more than 400 stores from Hokkaido to Okinawa, is the first Karaoke chain from Japan to embark on overseas expansion. Its initial foray was into Korea, where it currently has thirteen outlets.
Ganso Manekineko Orchard Cineleisure features rooms that are bright and vibrant in four coloured theme zones (orange, green, blue and red), each adorned with illustrations of the mascot cat. Targeted at young adults, families and even senior citizens, prices are kept affordable (from SGD12 nett onwards for three hours) with free-flow soft drinks, snacks and ice cream included. Manekineko @ Orchard Cineleisure will also be the only karaoke outlet in Singapore to offer a buffet spread for lunch on weekends and dinner daily so that customers will have a more fulfilling experience, singing and eating to their hearts’ content. Its Singapore chef has also come up with a new ala carte menu, to include local favourites such as Laksa, Braised Pork Knuckle and Chicken Rendang, to name a few.
General Manager of Koshidaka Holdings, Mr Kohei Yamaoka says, “As a market leader in the karaoke entertainment space, we desire to be the place of choice offering guests both young and young at heart, the best karaoke experience possible”.
As part of the group’s effort to continuously provide a delightful karaoke experience, Manekineko’s outlets house state-of-the-art karaoke systems and a library of 150,000 songs (English, Mandarin, Japanese, Korean, Cantonese, Malay, Hokkien and many more) updated fortnightly based on latest releases, hit charts and even customers’ requests. To remain ahead of the competition in the karaoke business, Manekineko customers in Japan are able to download the in-house developed SKIT application to their mobile devices. This application has a host of features, such as song search and selection, personalisation, karaoke system control and even uploading your self-made karaoke contents. Koshidaka Holdings is currently reviewing when to introduce this to the Singapore market, as part of its global expansion strategy.
Three years seemed like forever, until Fred Perry’s epic gig series returned to the little red dot with a new identity and exciting live gigs. Earlier this month,On August 25, 2016 / By Sarah Oh
Three years seemed like forever, until Fred Perry’s epic gig series returned to the little red dot with a new identity and exciting live gigs.
Earlier this month, the British sports and street-wear label brandished a new name for the gig series, called Fred Perry SubcultureLive. Organised in conjunction with Moonbeats Asia, the indie night affair was held at Gallery and Co on 4 August, to much fanfare. Headlined by a DJ set from Jack Savidge of Friendly Fires, the night continued to keep those feet shuffling and party goers enlivened by our home-grown talents such as Subsonic Eye, Specific Islander and DJ collective, Eatmepoptart.
A personal favourite was the trippy visuals by Amanda Tan of Empyreal. Her vision exhibited a cohesive sense of aesthetics, a sensory overload masterfully executed that lent a feast for the eyes. Conjoined with the live gigs, together they created a comfortable world where there was nothing to worry about.
Nonetheless, night owls and indie enthusiasts were down for a night of audiovisual soundscapes, celebrating the dawning of Fred Perry’s gig series – while noshing down hearty grub, sloshing beers by Park Bench Deli, or perhaps taking a swig of refreshing Gin and Tonic by Hendrick’s Gin.
In celebration of Singapore’s 51st birthday, Singaporean all-female quartet The QI Ensemble pays tribute to Singapore’s homegrown Mandopop talents in a music medley. Putting together the well-loved balladsOn August 25, 2016 / By Nookmag
In celebration of Singapore’s 51st birthday, Singaporean all-female quartet The QI Ensemble pays tribute to Singapore’s homegrown Mandopop talents in a music medley. Putting together the well-loved ballads of Mavis Hee, Kit Chan, Stefanie Sun, Tanya Chua and JJ Lin, the tribute looks back at the songs and music videos that shaped the Chinese music scene in Singapore.
Featured songs include 铁窗 (Iron Window) by Mavis Hee, ⼼心痛 (Heartache) by Kit Chan, 开始懂了 (Begin to Understand) by Stefanie Sun, Beautiful Love by Tanya Chua, and 曹操 (Cao Cao) by JJ Lin.
The QI Ensemble is young, invigorating and exuberant, presenting popular works in a style that is both playful and dynamic. They comprise a mix of traditional Chinese instruments (Pipa and Dizi) and modern day Western instruments (Keyboard and Guitar). They have produced music videos of chart-topping hits done in their East- meets-West and youthful style, and have performed at Huayi – Chinese Festival of the Arts, Wan Qing Yuan ‘Night Under the Stars’, Exclusive Preview of The Guggenheim’s ‘No Country’ Exhibition, Resorts World Sentosa’s Lunar New Year Festivities and many more.
For more information, please visit the TENG Company’s website.
The Singapore International Festival of Music (SIFOM) is brought to you by SIFOM Ltd, in collaboration with Arts House Ltd and OperaViva Ltd. Singapore’s first-ever classical music festival isOn August 22, 2016 / By Nookmag
The Singapore International Festival of Music (SIFOM) is brought to you by SIFOM Ltd, in collaboration with Arts House Ltd and OperaViva Ltd. Singapore’s first-ever classical music festival is back for a second year and it promises to be even more spellbinding!
This year’s theme is “Myths and Legends” and the Festival seeks to explore invigorating programmes of evocative classical music inspired by folklore and fairy tales. The Festival will kick off in mid-October with free public outreach programmes and masterclasses, and a series of ticketed orchestral, musical theatre and vocal concerts.
SIFOM aims to place Singapore on the world map of classical music capitals and bring new audiences to concert halls. “The Singaporean brand is undoubtedly an international one. By establishing Singapore as the centre of classical music in the region, SIFOM hopes to further cement Singapore’s global reputation as a major cultural hub,” said internationally-renowned Grammy-nominated Singaporean Conductor, Darrell Ang, SIFOM’s Artistic Director.
A magical, musical take on familiar fairytales
The Festival will open with a full symphonic concert featuring the resident festival orchestra SIFOM Orchestra side-by-side with members of the legendary Chamber Orchestra of Europe (COE), under the baton of Maestro Darrell Ang. Recognised as the world’s best chamber orchestra, COE comprises Europe’s stellar musicians who have worked closely with celebrated legends such as Claudio Abbado, Bernard Haitink, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Vladimir Jurowski, Yannick Nézet-Séguin and Sir András Schiff. COE was Cultural Ambassador for the European Union (EU) from 2007 to 2013. At SIFOM, COE will present an imaginary story told through French composer Maurice Ravel’s ravishing orchestration of tales from Mother Goose. Bask in the sensuous music of Sleeping Beauty, the tearful meanderings of wandering Tom Thumb, the oriental gaiety of the Princess of the Pagodas, Beauty and the Beast’s bizarre but touching discourse; and The Fairy Garden’s lush, flowery paradise.
Young performers from the Musical Olympus Foundation take centre-stage
Two opera stars from the Musical Olympus Foundation will perform their favourite showpieces on 13 and 15 October. Chinese bass-baritone Li Ao (winner of Placido Domingo’s Operalia competition) plays the devil Mephistopheles in a famous aria from Gounod’s beloved opera Faust, in which he advises a woman to remain chaste until marriage. Vasilisa Berzhanskaya, from Moscow’s famous Bolshoi Theatre, will sing Cinderella’s closing aria from Rossini’s opera on the fairy tale: now married to the Prince, Cinderella seeks pardon for her evil relatives who have done her wrong.
Maverick violinist, Aleksey Semenenko, who bagged the silver medal at the recent Queen Elisabeth Competition, promises to set the stage on fire from Sarasate’s beloved Carmen Fantasy. Semenenko will also start his evening concert on 13 October with a pre-concert recital featuring music inspired by legends. Lastly, be spellbound by Russian composer Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s powerful symphonic retelling of the colourful adventures of Sindbad the Sailor and the 1001 Arabian Nights: his Scheherazade is full of unforgettable tunes which will leave you dreaming of flying carpets and magic lamps!
Ikan Girl tells the story of good triumphing over evil
Ikan Girl, featuring The Bhumi Collective, tells a story about patience, kindness and the perils of engaging in evil deeds – especially the mistreatment of a fellow being. Inspired by a Malay ancient poem known as the Syair Bidasari, this story is a multidisciplinary performance that incorporates movement vocabulary from Malay dance, bharatanatyam and contemporary dance genres. Syafiqah Adha Sallehi, the composer, is Artist-in-Residence at SIFOM. Percussionist extraordinaire Ramu Thiruyanam will also make a special appearance.
Other events to look forward to include 五 + 5 = ?, a collaboration between Singapore’s Ding Yi Music Company and Vietnam’s Song Hong Chamber Music; New Music in a Mythic Landscape by SIFOM Young Composers offering their take on pieces inspired by local landscapes; and Elbipolis Barockorchester Hamburg, an orchestra from Germany bringing baroque and electronic music together in a refreshing experiment with styles.
Beyond the confines of the concert hall
“Classical music should not limit itself to the confines of a concert hall. By bringing it to the heartlands, we hope to promote classical music as an accessible art-form, and to nurture a new generation of listeners to classical music today,” said Ang.
SIFOM is delighted to share the joy of classical music to the Singapore community. Through its Outreach Programmes, SIFOM musicians will bring excerpts of the main programmes – such as Ravel’s Mother Goose Suite (illustrating fairytale favourites like Sleeping Beauty and Beauty and the Beast) – to various community venues in the heartlands, in parks and malls, at libraries and schools.
With the aim to encourage nationwide appreciation of classical music, SIFOM will collaborate with Sentire Singapore on a music-centric programme for special-needs children. By engaging these children through music, SIFOM composers and musicians will share some simple melodies and composition styles. Through the interaction, the children will learn to express themselves and develop their artistic capabilities. Some of the students will be given the opportunity to experience their music performed ‘live’ at The Arts House on 19 October.
SIFOM kicks off on 13 October and ends 30 October 2016. Tickets are available at a starting price of SGD 36, and there are now tiered Festival Passes which allow the ticket-holder to attend various combinations of performances, starting at SGD 144. Tickets will be available at SISTIC from mid-August.
Vans prides itself in unearthing local creative talent in all aspects of culture. Building on the success of the APAC Musician Wanted initiative in 2015, Vans, in partnershipOn August 21, 2016 / By Nookmag
Vans prides itself in unearthing local creative talent in all aspects of culture. Building on the success of the APAC Musician Wanted initiative in 2015, Vans, in partnership with Bandwagon, is coming to Singapore in 2016, giving the musicians of Singapore an opportunity to play the main stage at the Singapore stop of the House Of Vans Asia Tour.
If you are musical veteran, aspiring rock star or a newcomer to the local music scene, this is your opportunity to get some recognition for your musical talent and support some elevated music acts at the legendary House of Vans events.
From 12 August through 27 August 2016, bands of any skill level are able to submit their profile and chosen music piece – all music genres are welcome! There will be a total of 3 bands selected for the Vans Musicians Wanted Finals where the artists will be battling it out against each other for the prize to play on the House of Vans Main Stage. Don’t miss out on this chance to share your passion with the world and be a part of this year’s inaugural House Of Vans in Singapore. Successful applicants will be announced on 5 September 2016. Stay tuned for more information and keep practicing!
For more details and updates, please check out the Vans Musicians Wanted website.
Seamlessly blending the old with the new, The TENG Ensemble has done wonders to redefine classical music through complex recompositions of familiar tunes. With the release of theirOn August 11, 2016 / By Arman Shah
Seamlessly blending the old with the new, The TENG Ensemble has done wonders to redefine classical music through complex recompositions of familiar tunes. With the release of their sophomore effort “Stories from an Island City” and concert at the Esplanade fast approaching, the outfit’s artistic director Samuel Wong shares with Arman Shah the importance of celebrating Singapore’s heritage through reinvention.
How did The TENG Ensemble first come together to make music?
We started as a collective that aspired to raise awareness of Chinese music. In 2004, we won the First Prize in the National Chinese Music Competition which is organised biennially by the National Arts Council. Following that, a few of us decided to stay within the ensemble to provide for the creation and development of projects in Chinese music.
Since then, we’ve went on a nationwide tour and performed at public venues like The Arts House, the National University of Singapore, Singapore Management University and the National Museum during the Singapore Night Festival.
How has your sound evolved over the years?
Inspired by music of our time and from our past, we’ve gotten deeper in touch with our Singaporean heritage and have evolved from a mere Chinese instrumental ensemble to that of an intercultural ensemble. Now, we merge popular styles with classical techniques, and are constantly looking to rework, innovate, update and redefine traditional music.
We are currently working on the canon of folk songs, children’s rhymes and lullabies that are commonly heard in Singapore. Taking inspiration from these pieces, we deconstructed them, modernised them and made them sound completely new, yet retained the warmth of familiarity.
Why is it so important for you guys to celebrate Singapore through your music?
We pride ourselves as being a Singaporean music company, creating Singaporean work by Singaporeans for Singaporeans. With Singapore being a multicultural society that boasts a richly diverse heritage, the stories that we wanted to tell and the works that we wanted to write came quite naturally to us. The different cultures in our society are central to our country’s success, beliefs and value systems, and as such, important for us to showcase.
Most members of The TENG Ensemble are also music educators and we find that amongst the young, while most have a musical memory of these songs, they are starting to forget them. As such, we hope to introduce these songs back to the modern day and to reinvent material from our heritage to make them relevant for contemporary society.
How has social media helped create awareness of your music?
Social media platforms have become a common ground for people to meet and mingle, share their thoughts and ideas, discover new things and find an outlet to express or be at ease with themselves. This is important to consider when we want our music, which is created to be both complex and accessible, to reach an untapped audience for the arts.
Putting our work online also helps us reach an audience beyond Singapore, which in turn enables us to tour in the future, knowing that people out there have heard our music or watched our videos online, and would hence want to watch our live shows. In this sense, music videos that we publish online are both a platform to showcase our work and a marketing tool.
Considering the complexities of stitching together different musical elements, describe your process of creating a song.
As artistic director, I work closely with our composer Chow Jun Yi and arranger Huang Peh Linde. The process starts with me conceptualising and charting the direction for the pieces. Jun Yi then writes the pieces before passing them over to Peh Linde to arrange the accompanying orchestration, which includes the electronics and soundscapes for each piece.
For example, when we were recomposing Singapore’s heritage songs for “Stories from an Island City”, we wanted to make sure that people recognise the original melody but appreciate them in a new way.
I gave Jun Yi a list of songs that would make sense conceptually when put together, and his main challenge was to “modernise” the existing melodies to fit our era. Peh Linde then spent some time analysing his requirements and brought his treatments to reality.
You will be releasing your second album “Stories from an Island City” on the night of your concert at the Esplanade. What can we expect from it, and how does it differ from your debut effort?
We wanted to create a set of musical works that spoke about Singapore’s heritage. They are meant to be accessible yet encompass various underlying themes about urban life in Singapore. We also wanted them to have an educational component and resonate with most Singaporeans. We hope that they can give an insight into our musical past to help us make greater sense of our present.
The second album will feature all the songs from the concert and one bonus track. This is a big difference from our first album, in which we featured original compositions and explored different genres of contemporary music. The first album was a confluence of our musical influences, while “Stories from an Island City” is where we look into what shaped our musical identities.
What surprises do you have in store for us at your upcoming concert at the Esplanade?
This will be the first time that we are holding a full-fledged collaboration with artists from other disciplines to create a multi-sensory experience. The multimedia projections will give viewers something to watch and visually experience the stories we want to tell, while the dance performances will break the fixed spatial dimension of a straight up musical concert.
The audience will also notice how differently we intend to use our instruments. For example, our singer, who is a Baroque countertenor, will sing in Mandarin and Malay when he would traditionally sing in English or Italian. Another example is our pipa, which will be used to imitate sounds of the Indian tanpura in the piece “Storm War” that’s inspired by Munnaeru Vaalibaa.
What does holding a concert on such a grand scale mean to you on a personal level?
We’ve actually partnered with the Esplanade to present shows at the Recital Studio twice; once in 2012 and once in 2013. Both were sold out shows, so the Esplanade decided that we should venture into a bigger space, which is the Concert Hall. We are both thrilled and a little anxious to be playing in a much bigger space, and to a much bigger audience!
That said, we feel like we have really come a long way and we are always surprised by how much we can stretch our capabilities. We are happy that the Esplanade wants to see us evolve and have invited us to be on one of their most prestigious stages, and we are excited to really surprise our fans with “Stories from an Island City”.
Stories from an Island City will be presented live by the Teng Ensemble tomorrow, 12 August, at the Esplanade Concert Hall.