Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Books on the Early Music Scene in Southeast Asia

These are books on the early music scene in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand:

Malaya's Early Music Scene: Musika - Arena Muzik Silam Di Malaya by Azlan Mohamed Said. Many archival photographs are included in this insider's account of Malaya's music scene 1900-1965, a period of close Malaya/Singapore interchange. The first section overviews the history of Malay music, traditional songs and the early 20th century's Bangsawan opera, and gramophone and radio music. This music scene and Japanese policy 1942-45 and the 1045-65 developments in Radio Singapura, in cinema and entertainment hubs and at functions are then described. Inset photographs and biographical summaries are given for some 90 artistes and performers, and the role of musical groups noted. With bibliography, online database and index. Bilingual in Malay.

Apache Over Singapore: The Story of Singapore Sixties Music Vol. 1 by Joseph C. Pereira. The Cliff Richard and the Shadows concert in November 1961 opened the floodgates for Singapore pop music. It and subsequent pop music developments made for a very exciting pop scene in Singapore as there were releases to look forward to every week from EMI, Philips, Decca and other record companies, including local labels. With shows almost nightly and tea dances to welcome the week it was pop heaven. This book examines why it was so. Individual profiles of the bigger acts study their careers in details and trends like rhythm and blues, the blues movement and pyschedelia are examined. The attitudes of officialdom to this phenomenon in Singapore as well as other factors like the infrastructure that helped the sixties pop music movement are also discussed.

Makyung: The Mystical Heritage of Malaysia by Rahimidin Zahari; Sutung Umar RS et al. Awarded the Masterpiece of the Oral & Intangible Heritage of Humanity award in 2005 by UNESCO, Malaysia's Makyung is a veritable feast for the senses. The haunting strains of the bow drawing across the strings of the rebab signal the beginning of this mystical traditional dance theatre and a sensory mosaic of gestures, singing, music and dancing follow suit. This book take readers into the world of a beautiful yet mystical ancient theatre that is carving a niche in today's contemporary arts scene.

Musical Worlds In Yogyakarta by Max M. Richter. Musical Worlds in Yogyakarta is an ethnographic account of a vibrant Indonesian city during the turbulent early post-Soeharto years. It examines musical performance in public contexts ranging from the street and neighbourhood through to commercial venues and state environments such as Yogyakarta's regional parliament, its military institutions, universities and the Sultans palace. It focuses on the musical tastes and practices of street workers, artists, students and others. From street-corner jam sessions to large-scale concerts, a range of genres emerge that cohere around notions of campursari (mixed essences) and jalanan (of the street). Musical worlds addresses themes of social identity and power, counterpoising Pierre Bourdieu's theories on class, gender and nation with the authors alternative perspectives of inter-group social capital, physicality and grounded cosmopolitanism. The author argues that Yogyakarta is exemplary of how everyday people make use of music to negotiate issues of power and at the same time promote peace and intergroup appreciation in culturally diverse inner-city settings.

Thai Popular Music (Thai Popular Culture Vol. 1) by Gerhard Jaiser. Thai Popular Music is an analysis of luk krung, luk thung, phleng phuea chiwit, and Thai pop, forms of music played for both rural and urban audiences in Thailand. Luk thung is used also as a political tool, as rural Thais become more politically aware. Music plays an extremely important role in Thai society. This study gives a comprehensive overview of the development of Thai popular music since the 1930s and an in-depth look at the principal different musical styles. It also provides an analysis of popular music as a mirror of different social groups in Thai society. Translations and interpretations of a selection of seventy-seven representative songs are given. An annotated index of artists can serve as a basic dictionary, and an accompanying Youtube channel features performances of all the music discussed in the book. Further volumes on other aspects of Thai popular culture will follow.

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