09 January 2006

Monday's mp3: Putting the Sing in Singapore

I'm sure I'm not the only one with secret music in my mind. You know, those songs or albums that have taken up permanent residence in your brain, perhaps as a remnant of your earlier musical tastes or because of some emotional association.

Well, here's one of my musical secrets. It's the singer Dick Lee. Years ago a Singaporean friend gave me a cassette of his album The Mad Chinaman, and it's been stuck in my brain ever since. Admittedly, I've got a soft spot for some Asian pop (like Shang Shang Typhoon...). And though very much pop, Lee's music isn't all that far from my current musical tastes. Maybe it's his ability to capture Singapore's teetering position between cultures (Indian, Malay, Muslim, Christian, Hindi), and between tradition and modernity, authoritarianism and democracy.

In any case, it's there in my brain, so I'm sharing. This song from The Mad Chinaman (Lee has also penned a book that I haven't read, called The Adventures of the Mad Chinaman) is a duet between Lee and his once-wife Jacintha Abisheganaden, in the form of a Bollywood soundtrack. If you know Bollywood movies at all, you'll get a chuckle out of this. I don't know if Lee's music is at all available outside of Singapore; Google doesn't hold out much hope of this, alas. At least you can read about Lee in an interesting interview at Metropolis.

[mp3] Dick Lee with Jacintha: Mustapha

Reminder: SoundRoots' New Year Giveaway
All through the month of January 2006, anyone who leaves a non-anonymous, relevant comment on SoundRoots will be entered for a chance to win the 2-CD set Sound of the World, compiled by the BBC's Charlie Gillett. Drawing will take place 1 February, and the winner will be announced here. So join the conversation!
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Amethystophile said...

Hi, I am also interested in world music. You can visit my blog about Taiwanese folk art. Currently there is only information about Taiwanese folk music, but I will add more later.


SpinTheGlobe said...

Hey - thanks for dropping by, and for the info on your blog. I don't know much about Taiwan culture, so I'm sure I'll learn something from you. Feel free to drop by again with Taiwanese music suggestions for SoundRoots readers.

Sundus Rasheed said...

I am desperate to get this duet between dick lee and jacintha abhisheganadan! oh mustapha! where do i get it? pls pls pls let me know at sundus.rasheed@gmailc.om

xfrens 2 said...

hey... am so glad u share same sentiment as me for Dick Lee's Mad Chinaman... I can't find any cassette/cd/ download anywhere... Can you let me know where i can find it? :(

SpinTheGlobe said...

xfrens_2: I really don't know where it's available for purchase. I'll look around and let you know. If it's not available, there's a good chance I'll be posting from this album again, since this music deserves to be heard more widely!

JF said...

I can tell you that even if you look for it in Singapore, you'll have a hard time finding it. I asked a friend of mine who went out there to try to locate it, and no luck. Multiple stores searched. No luck.

You can find videos on youtube though -- particularly Mustapha, you can see it online.

JF said...

Dick Lee's Mustapha:

JF said...

Dick Lee's Mustapha: