Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Music is a universal language

It's been a few days since I posted. The few times when I wanted to, I was so tired, I was falling asleep over my laptop.

I thought I'd be able to do it over the weekend when I don't have to work. But as usual, my weekend is even busier than my weekdays....

You know, I have often heard people comment that there's nothing to do in Singapore. I know I do that sometimes too (hey, I'm a Singaporean, so complaining is one of my forte). But if you look around you, there are actually lots of events going on...

Over the weekend, I attended 2 different concerts/events that could not be more opposite in terms of content and environment.

Singapore Symphony Orchestra SSO

The SSO was formed in 1979 and consists of local and foreign musicians. I don't think Singapore has enough of a pool to have a wholly Singaporeans only orchestra.... yet.

Attending the SSO concerts have been a regular thing for us for the past 10 years or so. I was initiated into it by hubby (who was my boyfriend then). It was one of our regular dates. I must admit, I probably would not have thought of attending a classical concert then. But hey we were dating and I was in love.. so anything for him lah.

Over the years though, I've actually come to enjoy the concerts. No, I don't know how to play the piano or the violin or any of the instruments for that matter. Neither am I very 'cultured' as some of my friends suggested.

I don't profess to like all the pieces and indeed, sometimes I go "huh?" at the end of a piece and occassionally I fall asleep too (which can be rather rather embarrassing, as our seats are rather in front and normally in the centre). But generally, they are rather enjoyable and I have discovered that I actually know many of these classical music... more than I imagined.

And when the musicians play well... it touches and moves your heart.. even if you are not musically trained.

The SSO has moved from VCH to the The Esplanade (or the durian as we locals would call it). Since the move, I noticed that the audience has become more well dressed. I don't mean they come in ball gowns or tuxedos but you can tell that they have made an effort to dress up and treat it as a respectable event. I think it's rather nice and makes the night special. Indeed, it's all rather civilised as people sipped their glasses of champagne or wine during the break.

That night's concert was entitled The Fire, The Romance, the Passion.
Royal Fireworks by George Frideric Handel
Oboe Concerto in D major by Richard Strauss
An American in Paris by George Gershwin (who could forget Gene Kelly dancing away?)
Bolero by Maurice Ravel

Just before playing the last piece, I asked hubby, as I sometimes do, if I knew the piece. He said "yes, it's a very well-known piece."

And he was right. It's not only well-known. It's a very lively and beautiful piece. Makes me want to tap my fingers and dance. Click here to listen to the music. (Credit- The MIDI HALL)

Did you enjoy that? I did. It was indeed a very pleasant way to end a night.

World of Music, Arts and Dance WOMAD

If SSO was quiet and civilised then WOMAD, which I attended the following nights were lively, casual and slightly wild.

WOMAD brings together musicians from all over the world- South America, USA, Indonesia, China, South Korea and India to perform.

They are not your usual pop groups and most of the time, I may not have heard of the artistes. It does not mean that they are not well-known. It just means that their music is not played on the local radio stations 24 hours a day.

Like SSO, we have been attending WOMAD at least 8 out of its 9 years here... if not all the 9 years. I didn't need hubby to ask me to come along for this. We were both interested.

Attending WOMAD is like going for a big picnic outing.

Held at the Fort Caning Park, the place has a carnival feel to it. Most people would pack a picnic basket, bring along a mat and generally just chill out under the stars. For the classical concert, infants or toddlers aren't allowed in- which is understandable. But for WOMAD, it's really a family and friends event. Drinks, food, music and family/ friends. What more can you ask?

But if you are asking for more.. than there are always the little stalls selling nick-nacks, palm reading and workshops to attend. In fact, we always felt torn as many events overlap.

What I've always found special about WOMAD is the energy and liveliness amongst the crowd. Who said Singaporeans are not spontaneous? They should come and see how the crowd would be grooving away... including me. And some of these artistes do really play up a storm that gets you on your feet.

Dancing the night away

Have you ever heard Indian, Korean, Australian and African music being played together at the same time? No?

Ahh...I did say music is a universal language didn't I?

One group that I was particularly interested in was Dulsori from Korea (for obvious reasons). Someone has put up a short clip on Dulsori on Youtube. Take note of the short part where a group is playing on 3 big drums. Click here

And here's a photo of this very dynamic group, consisting of mainly young girls.

WOMAD plays around the world in different countries, with different artistes. The next stop is... Korea! But no go, hubby said no, cannot go... :-( Guess I'll just have to wait for WOMAD to come around to Singapore again in August next year.

Music produces a kind of pleasure which human nature cannot do without. ~Confucius

Let the music play on..... ^^


Jos said...

hey, I have been wanting to blog abt Dulsori since a few weeks back but din hv the time... it was during those time when blogger had some problem. But u inspired me to repost abt them. Shall do so now :)

tiffany said...

hehe! Do, do! They are really a great group. Enjoyed their performance alot. The audience was really impressed. ^^