Sunday, August 02, 2015

live wedding music

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What people probably don’t know…
  • Couples always pick English songs. Jazz. Sometimes, they even ask for French. What they sometimes don’t see or hear (because they’ve gone up to change) is that it’s the Chinese, Hokkien, even the Cantonese ditties which their audiences listen to, smile at, even dance to. As sophisticated and atas as they want their wedding to be, most Singapore Chinese wedding audiences are really very low-class. And there’s nothing wrong with that. I’m much happier playing jit lang jit pua to people happily singing along, than From This Moment On to a stone-cold audience.
  • I get hungry. I don’t know about other musicians, but the timing of these gigs (wedding lunch or wedding dinner), and the fact that musicians have to turn up typically two hours before for sound checks, mean that I am usually famished. I play on a growling tummy and I gulp down warm water by the glassful (but cannot drink too much also or I'll have to pee).
  • I get cold. Hotel ballrooms are usually freezing. Well the male musicians wear jackets and such and they tend to have more insulation than me, but if I try to wear anything sleeveless or strapless (nicer right) the goosebumps come up.
  • Most wedding singers rely on iPads and other such devices to ‘call up’ their lyrics, while musicians still either stick to paper scores (chord charts) or don’t use scores at all. I don’t know why the tech divide!
  • It can get terribly boring. One wedding singer told me – "You know when I started I told my girlfriend I was so excited and nervous to perform before 300 people! Now, wah lau, nothing fazes me." Seasoned wedding musicians never get nervous. But they can get bored which is where an enthusiastic audience helps. What makes a wedding memorable, for me at least, is the audience. Like I'll never forget the man who stood up and danced, after requesting a litany of obscure Hokkien songs which proved a real hit with half the diners. (the other half were not Chinese!)

1 comment:

Flip Jork said...

My criterion for the songs was that we are not allowed to have any songs that we don't stand listening to ourselves and if we can think of songs that remind of us some guests, soul desire music