I’ve been away again hence the slowness in blogging. In Singapore, as I had mentioned last time, there’s way too many things happening. I’ll try and give an insight into the music, theatre, performances scene here this time. Singapore is trying to position itself as a entertainment hub (this word "hub" has been over-used) and is promoting all kinds of visual arts, music and theatre performances.
There are various venues around Singapore where performances are held, the best of all being the Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay. As the name suggests, it is by the bay and is Singapore’s answer to Sydney’s opera house. Architecturally different, named unofficially but affectionately as the Durian, it stands at the Marina Bay water front on a sprawling complex. The Durian is a local spiny covered fruit, it tastes like meat and smells really bad. The smell is so string that it is banned on all public transport, cannot even carry a piece of this fruit on an MRT or bus. I'm sure the local populace would differ with me and call it their king of fruits but let me say it is an acquired taste. It looks like a jackfruit, but beware, it aint jackfruit for sure.
(The durian shaped Esplanade in the background)
A number of theatres indoors and outdoors around the Esplanade area compete with each other in hosting performances of various kinds. The last performance I went to last year was the West Side Story, played by the original Broadway cast. The “King and I” is presently playing and “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” is coming soon. The calendar is packed and one can take a look at the Esplanade website to check out what’s up next: www.esplanade.com
If you don't drive and take the MRT instead, get off at City Hall MRT and walk through the underground CityLink Mall to the Esplanade.
(The stage for Baybeats 2007)
The music scene here is also varied and the itinerary somewhat packed. To give an example, there was Christina Aguilera a few weeks back followed by Gwen Stefani and now Engelbert Humperdinck. I probably missed mentioning a few more as I have been in and out on my travels. To keep people amused, Singapore hosts the annual Indie Rock festival outdoors near the Esplanade and that is free for the public. The event was called Baybeats 2007 between 2nd and 5th August and included local as well as invited International bands. I took in the rock sounds of a Sydney based group called Intone and enjoyed it, this being my genre of music (I’m a Linkin’ Park fan BTW, for rock fans, I’d also suggest “Send away the tigers” a new album from Manic Street Preachers).
(Intone lead singer)
So, the next time when you are in Singapore, check out the Esplanade for performances and check out the local newspaper listings to see what’s going on. The hungry ghost festival is going on now and that is a Singaporean event mostly reflecting the culture and music of the Getai singers and performers who perform at various places in the heartlands. A movie based on this has been released called 881 (Pa Pa Yaw) in Chinese with English Subtitles. I’ll watch it and then post something on it. I may have to do a separate write up on the Hungry Ghost month. Singapore also had it’s National Day celebrations recently and there was the NDP parade and performances and for the first time this was done on the waterfront on the World’s largest floating platform. That’s another post as well.
(Intone in motion)