Saturday, April 25, 2009

For e.g.

e.g. is a new fashion label hailing from London and their structured designs have completely won me over!

My picks:

To satisfy my current craze for all things maxi.

You all know how much I love structured lines.

This sleeveless jacket would go so well with a mini and leggings.

The tour de force of this collection: the silk taffeta coat that opens up to a pintucked structured bodice and long coat tails at the back not unlike the tailcoat.

I love the fact that you can tie up the back coat tails and voila! You get a trenchcoat!

This is for Joe

Thank you for your response to this post.

Yes, I agree with you that this is not a competition. It never was meant to be one. However, be it a competition or no, schools have always taken the SYF as a competition.

This is unhealthy. Principals exert pressure on the teachers, who then in turn exert pressure on the students and some times instructors.

In fact, I always tell my students that the most important thing is to have fun and in the process, learn something in terms of ensemble work, team work and musicality. But in the end, schools' mentality isn't about the learning, team work and fun, rather about what award would the students get.

It will take many years before the schools can change this perspective, I'm afraid.

Next, let me justify why I say that big ensembles win.

Firstly, like you said, more instruments means a larger, richer sound and therefore a better performance for the audience. My idea of a big ensemble is something like Millenia Institute's or Siglap Secondary - where they utilise not only a huge number of angklungs, but also kulintangs as well as other instruments.

Digressing a little, here comes the part wherein I am confused as to why the angklung and kulintang are grouped together because in Indonesia, the angklungs are played alone, and are certainly not accompanied by the kulintang. This is simply because of geographical differences. The angklung has been used and played by the Sundanese (West Java) since ancient times, whereas the kulintang is used more frequently in Eastern Indonesia, like Sulawesi. Furthermore, the wooden kulintangs that have always been used in the SYF do not come from Indonesia, but rather, originated from the Phillipines.

I've always been amazed at the lack of research by the MOE personnel. Do they know for instance that the kulintang of Indonesia are made up of kettle-gongs not wooden keys, thus the term coined for the kulintang ensemble: gong-chime family? So shouldn't the kettle-gong kulintang be used instead of the wooden ones?

By using the wooden kulintang, does this then not classify the kulintang under the "other" instruments category?

In my opinion, what I could see on SYF day was that the kulintangs overshadowed the angklungs most of the time. Of course, seeing that one is an instrument capable of more sustaining power, mellower timbre and depends on the hitting capacity of the mallet-wielder, one would understand why. But if this is an Angklung category in the SYF, why would one then choose to have so many kulintangs in proportion to the angklungs, when he/she knows that the incidence of the kulintangs drowning out the angklungs would be greater?

And then to add on to that would be to introduce other instruments. I actually don't find the "other" instruments a problem. I myself have used them in my arrangements. What I am concerned is the role they play in the ensemble. Do they have solo roles? Or do they just play accompaniments to the angklungs or provide sound effects or enhance the music?

I actually think that the performances by Siglap Sec and Millenia Institute were great and musically interesting, especially MI's orchestral-like arrangement. But to me, the roles of the angklung in their performances were sadly diminished and eclipsed by other instruments.

The best performance of the day I felt, went to Crescent Girls School. The instructor used only the angklung, kulintang, and a hi-hat/cymbal for her second song. The angklung parts utilized both the rhythmic and melodic aspects, the kulintang played accents and accompaniment figures that did not clash with nor steal the spotlight from the angklungs and the hi-hat/cymbal combination gave an added rhythmic boost to the whole ensemble. That performance I felt really showcased the angklungs and was easily the best performance of the day, musically. However, they only got a silver.

Thats why I say that big ensembles win gold. Not only just vast amounts of angklungs, but kulintangs as well as other instruments. Oh, and not forgetting the choreography that has become consistent with schools under Mr Khamis.

One really wonders.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

SYF is over

SYF is finally over this year and I'm going to enjoy the feeling, till the next one comes along.

This year, only two schools in the Secondary schools category attained gold. One was a girls' school (can't really remember what name but that their costume was pink and gold?) and the other that acheived gold with honours was Siglap Secondary.

For the Junior College category, Millenia Institute swept away the gold award, again.

This is what I've learnt:

- big ensembles win. Its best to have many racks of angklungs and a huge number of kulintangs.

- giving the melody to only the angklung won't get you anywhere. you must have the kulintangs playing something, maybe the bonangs doing something. You get my drift. As long as the angklungs are not playing solely from start to end. Oh and don't forget all the "outside" instruments like the gong, chinese drum, kendang, timpani and vibraphone.

So yeah, even though the category we're all preparing for is the Angklung category, just get the angklungs out there, but make sure you give parts to other instruments.

WTH? I thought we were in the angklung category???

The Armenian Duduk

I was blown away by the evocative sounds emanating from this ancient Armenian wind instrument called the Duduk. Enjoy!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

I need glam lessons!

I am a performer but I'm hopeless at the glam needed when I appear on stage. Sigh. I need lessons! I need to know how to artfully put up my hair so that it doesn't cover my face when I play and yet still look nice and cool, even on a balmy afternoon.

You may think this is sudden, but actually, I've been thinking about it for ages. I think what broke the camel's back was two of my hottest gigs in a row the past two days. Saturday was the greenhouse efffect/global warming at *scape at Youth Park. Only 15 mins and sweat was pouring down like I had been running for half an hour. Yes, that bad. And today, a wedding gig from 10am to 5pm at a non-airconditioned community centre hall in my organza kebaya. Organza...I tell you, is so bad for the heat! It kept the sweat against my skin the whole day without any reprieve and in the end I was felt so sticky I didn't even wanna change out and dirty my other clothes. I just jumped right into a cab and headed home. The feeling was just horrible!!!!

Frustrated. Irritated. Desperate.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

drama, music ...all in a day's work

Today was the first two shows of the Gamma:rays FYI series at the Esplanade. I can safely say everyone had a ball of a time and I certainly hope the schools that came did! Well, I know for certain that SJI boys did and I'm really excited about this, because a boy from SJI added me on Facebook. At first, I was wondering who this person was till I saw his affiliation with SJI! I know, ultimate coolness right? This, on the day of the show itself, shows that we really caught and held their attention and made an impression!

Then, I decided to check on our myspace and our email, and guess what? This same guy who added me on Facebook emailed us! The gist of it was to find out where they could get our music. That he would take the time to find out how to get to us was another level of coolness! I'm so excited I can't wait to tell the guys tomorrow!

Then of course drama must happen. I mean why can't they let sleeping dogs lie. She's left and thats the end of the story right? But why must they keep dropping subtle hints about this and that. Asking about what support and what fun is just doing injustice to the time you spent in GA.

Oh and coming back with a reply - "Oh how should I know...I'm not in GA" says alot about you. Your mind obviously has been poisoned and you shouldn't only trust what you hear when it is one-sided. But then again, I'm confused. You bitched so much about her the last time and she did the same about you. Yet, you still take her side. Oh well, I guess birds of a feather fly together.

Anyway, I'm glad you're not in GA. And for your information, there IS support and fun in GA. When ppl like you are not around to cause drama.

Thanks for leaving. :)

Friday, April 10, 2009

10 reasons why I don't like you

1. You're a man but you're so weak. So what if you're gay, gay men don't have to be weak.

2. There's a word to describe your not wanting to work and just enjoying life --- LAZY

3. You're snobbish

4. You look down on your own race

5. You may be in your 30s but hey, you still act like a immature teen.

6. Why must people always make the first move. Why can't you for once?!

7. because you always say you're an outcast. You know why? Coz you act like one!

8. because you say one thing and do another. You can't stand her, want to avoid her? Then walk the talk!

9. because you complain about everything and have excuses for anything.

10. you're a spoilt brat.

You leave a bad taste in my mouth

Monday, April 06, 2009

Gwen Stefani?

This girl reminds me of Gwen Stefani. And strangely enough, this colour combination works.