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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