Friday, September 23, 2016

Sunglasses Turn To Moonglasses In Singapore

                                Dark Dark Sunglasses by The Kittens. Video: Roger Hansson

Shades On Stage


Sunglasses have been fashion accessory since the 1940's but others believe that these spectacles with dark coloured lenses have existed since the 1920's. 

Some people thought they were invented because film stars needed them to protect their eyes from the extremely powerful arc lights on movie sets; others felt that sun glasses were invented for the beach.

Simply, it's just a pair of dark glasses to protect your eyes from the glare of the blinding sun. Then came the UV ray and computer professional theories and later the LASIK operation which hyped the wearing of this fashion trend. 

Sunglasses has a history in itself. A long time ago, in the US, they were commonly known as shades and Marlon Brando (image on bike) had them for his 1954 movie On The Waterfront and Elvis Presley (right) wore them while jamming in a scene for his 1970 bio movie, That's The Way It Is. These dark-lens spectacles were known to have dated way back when into Roman times and 12th Century China.

Pop stars known to wear sunglasses included, Elton John, Paul McCartney, Freddie Mercury, John Lennon, Mick Jagger, Boy George, James Dean, Bob Marley, George Harrison and Ringo Starr. An endless list?

Except for Yoko Ono and a few other lady singers, most female stars do not put on dark glasses for obvious reasons.

Call them what you may, sunglasses were identified differently in various countries. Known as glares in India; speckies in Australia; sunnies in Africa, UK and NZ. The Scots called them glecks and the Middle East, cooling glasses.

In Singapore they were ordinarily known as sun glasses, shades, black specs, sun specs or simply dark glasses. 

Our Singapore band boys wore them constantly. And featured images were our own pop stars from The Quests, The Jets and The Stylers. Know them?

There were different types too; Aviator, Oversized, Shutter Shades, Tea Shades, Wayfarer and Wrap Around. The more starry-eyed youngsters in the 1960's, to show off their expensive taste, called them Ray Ban.

Cursing first, "Damn sun." Then, "Alamak, I left my Ray Ban Aviator at home!" 


What surprised me was in the early 1960's when everyone was rock n rollin' on the ballroom floor at Paya Lebar Airport night club I saw a dancing couple wearing a pair of sunglasses. No difference actually because they were ordinary shades worn at night. 

It could have started because of Roy Orbison's (left) iconic glasses. There was a cult following when our Only The Lonely pop star made night sunglasses a cool habit among singers. 

Because of his own experience with prescription glasses in 1963, he ended on stage one evening wearing a pair. The idea must have caught on. And they called them, moonglasses?

There were singers who needed to wear them permanently, even at night. They were: Jose Feliciano, Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles, Ronny Milsap and Roy Orbison.

Like cats we copied, and soon the band boys were wearing moonglasses on stage at night. Their excuse was simple; the glare of the stage lights were blinding. So moonglasses were in vogue for a while during Singapore's 60's music craze (images below show *Malay singer Ismail Haron and *Chinese guitar group The Bees). 

Walking the evening streets in Singapore in the 1960's it was easily noticeable that the trend had caught on like wildfire. As the Pokemon phenomenon is today, just imagine a whole lot of youngsters walking around in the middle of the night, with dark glasses on their faces, shading themselves from the moon glare?

I remember one evening when a group of us, some with moonglasses, had to walk to a makeshift carpark (not many beautiful carparks like they have today). It was after a performance at a Changi beach club.

There was a loud thud and we saw our drummer boy fall on the sandy shore. He had bumped into a coconut tree in the dark of night. His pair of moonglasses was still dangling on one ear when we went to 'rescue' him.

Are moonglasses still popular today? Of course but not so spectacular as it was yesterday. You can still see Silver Strings Michael Bangar wearing them during performance, day and night.

Do you have stories to tell about your shades?

*Singers and bands are versatile. Ismail Haron, who had passed on, was a Malay and The Bees was basically a Chinese guitar group but they sang and played western music as well.

Images from: A Personal Collection and Google.

Article is original and some information from Wikipedia and Internet sites.

                                         Ooh, here's a nasty one!

Monday, September 19, 2016

@ Silver Arts: 'Silver Strings' And 'Dukes' Deliver

Thank you all for the beautiful turnout and wonderful support!

The Plaza at the National Library wasn't a very large venue but most seats were filled when The Silver Strings and The Dukes performed on Sunday, 18th September.

There were many silver haired ladies and gentlemen since it was  a special occasion for them organised by the National Arts Council under the banner Silver Arts, Celebrating Seniors and the Arts. But there were the young ones too as many came to learn about sixties music. 

As promised fans, friends and family turned out in full force for the one hour performance by both bands. Starting sharp at 3pm, The Dukes provided an entertaining start with a lively repertoire of songs, including a Hokkien pop discussing how one could be a millionaire. Multi-talented and multi-linguist Jerry Murad belted out hit after hit sitting at his drums. 

The songs we heard: Woolly Bully, I Love A Rainy Night, Over The Rainbow, Move It, You Lied, Jipa Ban.

His group had his brother Zainal Abidin or Captain Z playing bass, with Peter Chua lead and Paul Shankar rhythm. They were good as the crowd shouted for more after only a 20 minute sprint.

Then the Silver Strings appeared with Andy Singing The Blues, followed by the Indonesian hit, Impian Semalam. Michael Bangar rocked the crowd with Hippy Hippy Shake. The international handclapping hit, Beautiful Sunday by Michael brought the house down as  the audience asked for more.

Nick Stravens with his powerful vocals pleased the crowd with CCR's Lodi and the Cliff Richard anthem, Young OnesRickie Chng was cool as ever belting out 60's favourites accompanying the singers.  No one in the crowd was left untouched by the music of both bands. 
"Wonderful show," said pretty Carrie, a member of the audience. "Each song brings back memories for us. Thank you very much. Hope to see more of these shows."

Like most members of the band, programme carrying ladies and gents met the boys requesting for autographs. It was fun time as we discussed pop  60's music, both local and from abroad.
Drummer and socialite John Cher was mobbed by a group of ladies and men clamouring for his autograph. Audie Ng carried the youngest fan in his arms. The child was only 4 years.

More news ahead. And more pictures as we reveal the people behind the scene.
                   Video guy Robert Lim. Many of his shoots on You Tube.

           Living legend Horace Wee, the man for guitar solos, with Andy and John.
                      Photographer Richard Toh and drummer boy John Cher.
Audie Ng and his fan base - all ladies.

Personal pictures with friends who witnessed the performances.
Mr and Mrs Mun Chor Seng. A TV News cameraman, he accompanied LKY and entourage on regional government trips.
With Mark, a colleague from the 1970's.
Younger readers of this music blog.  
Joycelyn and Yen Chow, students of mine from the 1990's
Melissa, the lady behind the scene, from National Arts Council.

A note from John Cher. Thanks John.

Hi Andy, 

Thank you for the dairy of events on Sunday, 18th September 2016. I am quite amazed that you could take note of the details of the entire proceedings while you were performing yourself.

Leading to the event, I was warned about the potential bad accoustics of the Plaza at the National LIbrary. However when The Dukes commenced their sound checks, my fears were laid to rest. I was delighted to observe that it was in fact good. Especially for an open air show. Due credit must be accorded to the sound engineers. In fact a few of the people I spoke with are of the view that the sound is better than that of the quaterly Pek Kio shows!

On behalf of The Silver Strings I wish to thank and congratulate the organizers of this programme. It clearly brought a lot of joy and good cheer to everyone who attended. The one major complaint; It was far far too short!

One of the young soundmen I spoke to said he really enjoyed listening to all the old songs that his parents love, performed "live". I am of the view that the event had indeed achieved its intended goal of "CELEBRATING SENIORS & THE ARTS". It was very much YESTERDAY ONCE MORE for the audience. It is not only the music and the bands. It is also about meeting up with old friends from the golden era of SG music and sharing the stories of the personalities that emerged from the scene. What a blast!

On a personal note, thanks to Andy Lim for opening the avenue for the Silver Strings to participate in this Silver Arts Celebrations 2016. And also to Audie Ng for seeing it through to its fruition.

Andy's slogan to "pop music and not pills" is proven beyond any doubts. Natural "highs" come from music, not pills!

What a pleasure and privilege to share the beautiful Sunday afternoon with all who came to support the show! Thank you each and everyone!

Cheers everyone!

John Cher

Michael Bangar with The Silver Strings 18 Sept 2016
The Dukes @ Silver Arts Festival 18th Sept 2016

Thanks to:

Richard Toh for most of the photographs on this page.
Robert Lim and Fabian Foo (right) for the video shoots that are already on You Tube.

NAC for inviting The Silver Strings and The Dukes.
All friends, fans and family who attended the show.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

together again 18th september 3pm national library

silver strings
silver strings and dukes @ the national library:

18th september
sunday 3pm: the plaza
ground floor
national library (main)
north bridge road
(near ritz carlton and raffles hotel)

don't forget us this sunday. only our second appearance this year, beside the kallang wave gig. informality is the key, like this piece of writing. and the dukes will be there. dress any way you like.

it's in the afternoon at 3 and it's free. the library is upstairs, a coffee house to watch from, across the road a bus stop and we are performing on the ground floor at the plaza.

call it what you may. t-dance or a simple get together for all. but it's a gig specially for the silver arts festival in september. you can rock and roll, cha-cha and do the twist. most of all you can relax.

bring the family, children and grandchildren. our band boys will bring along their families too, so if you hear some hand clapping, they are probably the silver strings' fans, friends and family.

you can come for autographs if you wish. bring your program booklet where silver strings and duke will only be too glad to pen their thoughts.

come and meet andy, audie, nick, mike, john, rickie. and the dukes peter, zainal, paul, aziz and jerry.
the dukes

seats are available too, next to the coffee house but there's standing room everywhere.
see you soon!

images: a personal collection; national arts council; national library board; google.

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Elephants Maimed @ Landmines; Killed For Ivory

                     The Elephant Song - Kamahl video: Jesper Linde

This Tragedy Is Not New
Two Songs To Remember
The Elephant Song -  Sung by Kamahl
Baby Elephant Walk - Composed Henry Mancini

David Attenborough, younger brother of actor Richard, is well known for his intimate and vast knowledge of animal and plant life. He has always been in the news and commented recently that elephants face extinction within 10 years if they are not protected from poachers and if the public stopped supporting conservation charities.
Tell me said the elephant
Tell me why this has to be
We have to run from man and hunter
Never safe and never free
                         David Attenborough, Marc Spits, Kamahl

The plight of these giants went as far back as 1975 when a former Malaysian singer Kamahl popularised, The Elephant Song (World Wildlife Fund anthem). Then recently in 2011 when Singapore was part of the international Elephant Parade, huge painted elephant sculptures were displayed and auctioned with proceeds going to the foundation. 

This event was created by Marc Spits and son Mike in 2006, after they witnessed an Asian baby elephant *Mosha fitted with a new prosthetic limb in Thailand. The calf lost its leg in a landmine accident.  The Elephant Parade highlighted the problem internationally.
For two days my grandson and I were chasing coloured elephants on parade all over Singapore, from the Botanic Gardens to Wheelock Place (above). It was meaningful fun.  Since smaller elephant replicas were sold at Orchard we bought the orange one (below) for less than S$50. 

So, David Attenborough is the overall caregiver, Marc Spits and his son made us aware of maimed elephants in Thailand and singer Kamahl highlighted the elephant problem with a song. As citizens of this world we try to do our part too, by buying an inexpensive replica, or if you can afford, a higher priced one.
Why am I writing this post with all seriousness? 

The Straits Times' article, Vanishing Giants (3 Sept. 2016 Pg A37), and other news media all over the world highlighted how **ivory poachers in Africa had international criminal gangs greased the trade with corruption and made law enforcement difficult.

Selling by the kilo, for more than the annual income of an African worker, the ivory is used in unproven medical treatments.  There are now about 350,000 elephants left in Africa, a population decline of at least 30 percent. 

400 tonnes of ivory was trafficked in 2013, representing the tusks of 50,000 elephants. The price of ivory in China, the largest market, has peaked from $6 a kilo in 1976 to $3,000 a kilo today. 

In fact there is a website by the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust with a logo called: I Worry (sounding like ivory) that explains the elephant situation today. Researchers maintain that elephants cannot survive without stronger protection effort.  

                  Elephant killed, with tusk sawed off. Piles of ivory $$$.

From the 1st of September to the 10th, 2016, the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) congress will showcase Planet at the Crossroads @ Honolulu, Hawaii, USA, and discuss a range of international environmental issues that includes climate, oceans and wildlife trafficking. Funding for rangers and closing down ivory markets would be one of the issues.

Happy was the elephant
Happy was his jungle life
And then they came, the cruel hunters
With their rifle and their knives...
Please help the elephants and other wildlife.

Make our young ones aware of the importance of wildlife and help to preserve them by donating to such funds. 

Pass this story to others...

An original article with information from Websites

Baby Elephant Walk by Henry Mancini. Video Ja Rnd.

*Mosha reminds me of Baby Elephant Walk (1961) by Henry Mancini, which won a Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Arrangement for the movie, Hatari.

                                Mosha with prosthetic leg.  Poachers stealing tusks.

Images: Personal Collection and Google.
                             You Tube Videos: Jesper Linde and Ja Rnd.

Graphic pictures can be seen under, IMAGES - Key in: Poachers kill elephants. But be careful. Very scary.

Thursday, September 01, 2016

Hillary Clinton's Pop Music Selection

Mrs Clinton's Favourite Songs:

Born in 1947 and graduating from college in 1969 and Yale Law School in 1973,
Hillary Clinton would have gone through the same kind of music and possibly appreciated similar pop stars in the three decades that this blog is familiar with i.e. the 50's, 60's and 70's.  

"I'm a child of the sixties," she told a Philipino audience once. According to Rolling Stone magazine, she grew up with The Beatles, Rolling Stones, The Who and The Doors. Except for the last group, more of a British influence? 

During her college days in the 1960's she was rockin' and rollin' to King Elvis and Motown's vocal favourites, The Supremes.  Currently, she's supported by top music makers Elton John, Paul McCartney, Stevie Wonder, Cher, Quincy Jones and screen money spinners like Steven Spielberg, Leonardo Dicaprio and George Clooney, all loved by the 60's and 70's generation of fans and adulators.

The impressive list continues with Meryl Streep, Morgan Freeman, Oprah Winfrey, Ellen de Generes, Jamie Lee Curtis (daugher of Tony Curtis), Will Ferrell and J.J. Abrams (Star Wars director).  These are only some of the famous names backing Hillary Clinton for the POTUS seat.

                       Joni Mitchell Chelsea Morning by cowdogmoof

Like the lady she is, Mrs Clinton would definitely love the song, I Am Woman (1971), by Helen Reddy, praising female acts like country and western star Loretta Lynn, today's singers Selena Gomez and Lady Gaga. Naturally, she is all for female empowerment.

She had these power ladies on stage to perform in Philadelphia during the Democratic National Convention in July. Carole King, living legend, sang, You've Got A Friend followed by other current pop super stars Kate Perry and Jessica Sanchez.  The theme song for the evening was Stronger Together, written specially for the campaign and the convention. 

According to her, these women are the best at what they do; whether they were fronting soul bands, writing dance anthems and lyrics or crooning ballads about young love and heartbreak, she finds them very impressive and amazing.  She has thirteen special songs to follow her on the campaign trail and include pops by Jennifer Lopez, Marc Antony, Kelly Clarkson and others. 

Wiki biography wrote that the Clintons chose the name Chelsea for their daughter because they love the 1969 Judy Collins pop hit by Joni Mitchell, Chelsea Morning. The name was also inspired by their London visit when they popped into the Chelsea neighbourhood during Christmas in 1979.

Apparently Mrs Clinton has a music playlist on her iPod and they were Respect (1965), by Aretha Franklin, Beautiful Day (2000) by U2, Take It To The Limit (1975) by the Eagles and the Beatles worst number one hit. Could be, Hey Jude (1968). 

She loves Shania Twain's, Man I Feel Like A Woman (1995) and Fleetwood Mac's Landslide (1975). Mrs Clinton enjoys classical music too, depending on her mood.  Songs are effective communicators and below are some of these tongue-in-cheek quips (?) that Mrs Clinton might use:

Love Me Tender (by Elvis Presley): Definitely not to Donald Trump.
It's Now Or Never (by Elvis Presley): To her campaigners all the time.
Stand By Your Man (Tammy Wynette): She did, didn't she?
Promises, Promises (Dionne Warwick): Her supporters after the election.
It Doesn't Matter Any More (Buddy Holly): After 8th November, 2016.

The world will probably know whether she'll be on top of the hit parade come 8th November in 2016 or she will be out of the Hall Of Fame as 45th President of the United States. It's never easy to predict a hit parade chart.

Information from: 
Rolling Stone Magazine, Wikipedia, Websites about Hillary Clinton and her music preferences.

Images: Google. With Elton John, Paul McCartney, Cher and Bill Clinton with Stevie Wonder. Below with Donald and Melanie Trump.
You Tube Video: Joni Mitchell Chelsea Morning by cowdogmoof

It would be interesting to find out what 60's and 70's pop songs some of our Ministers in charge are listening to and compile individual lists. 

Come on guys, cut the stress and strain. Listen to music more often and tell me what you listen to. Write in soon.