Music of Singapore

Music of Singapore
Nuvola Singaporean flag.svg
Life in Singapore
Singapore English
edit box
Music of Southeast Asia
Brunei Brunei
Cambodia Cambodia
East Timor East Timor
Indonesia Indonesia
Laos Laos
Malaysia Malaysia
Myanmar Myanmar
Philippines Philippines
Singapore Singapore
Thailand Thailand
Vietnam Vietnam

Singapore has an urban musical scene, and is a center for rock, punk and other genres in the region. The 1960s produced bands like The Crecendos with hit songs like Mr Twister. The Quests, who had hits like "Shanty", "Don't Play That Song", "Jesamine" and "Mr Rainbow". "Naomi & The Boys" with a house hold hit song "Happy Happy Birthday Baby" as well as other pop-rock bands including The Thunderbirds, The Trailers, The Western Union Band, October Cherries and The Silver Strings. Folk music includes the ethnic Chinese, Malay and Tamil sounds.

The launch of the nation's arts centre, Esplanade - Theatres on the Bay, has served to focus the island's multi-genre music making. It is now the venue for the Singapore Symphony Orchestra's subscription and gala concerts. In addition, the arts centre has ensured a representation of classical and traditional music from the four primary cultures in the land. In particular, the regular festivals of Hua Yi, Pesta Raya and Kalaa Utsavam ensure that interpreters of these different repertories are heard on a regular basis.

The Esplanade - Theatres on the Bay also presents 3 music festivals, of which Baybeats grooms and grows the local music industry. The key objective of the festival is to grow the local music scene – both by discovering and grooming quality acts from Singapore; as well as developing a good audience base to not only support the festival but also build awareness of local talents. The festival provides opportunities for youths and the music community to participate and enjoy their own music at low cost – musicians, writers, photographers, designers as well as fans. In addition, to local home-grown music acts, Baybeats also presents a good array of popular alternative bands from the region. The regional line-up allows the audience a taste of the scene outside Singapore, adds to the diversity and vibrancy of the festival. And it also expands the minds of Singaporean musicians and keeps them motivated to improve and deliver better performances.

Many ticketed as well as non-ticketed performances at Esplanade - Theatres on the Bay features local musicians from Singapore. Through regular series like Coffee Morning & Afternoon Tea, At The Concourse, On The Waterfront, Late Nite and Beautiful Sunday, the public can watch a range of performances by upcoming local indie musicians, veterans from the 60s - 80s, as well as community orchestras throughout the year.


Folk music


Peranakan folk music is noted for its fusion of English in Malay-inspired tunes, largely because the Peranakans themselves are often conversant in both languages. Contemporary tunes continue to be composed based on the Peranakan culture, such as "Bunga Sayang", a theme song from Dick Lee's musical "Kampung Amber". The song became an often-sung staple of the National Day Parade, and gained international exposure when it was performed for the opening ceremony of the 117th IOC Session at the Esplanade.

Pop and rock music

Singapore's pop scene began in 1960, when the Blue Diamonds performed, and really launched after Cliff Richard & the Shadows arrived a year later, thus launching the beat boom. Like much of the world, the British Invasion began in 1963, led by The Beatles. Some bands remained instrumental, while others incorporated singers. Soon, British R&B became popular, and spawned a local Malay variety. Pop stars of the 1960s included Naomi & the Boys, D'4 Ever, Antarctics, Mike Ibrahim & the Nite Walkers, Swallows, Ismail Haron & the Guys and Les Kafila's.

In the late 1970s and early 1980s saw the rise of rock bands such as Sweet Charity fronted by the charismatic vocalist Ramli Sarip. The band had such an influence in the Singapore and Malaysia music scene that it later led to a rock explosion in the mid 1980s.

The 1990s produced bands with alternative and indie influences such as Concave Scream, Humpback Oak, The Padres, Oddfellows, Livionia, with the band KICK!, signed to the Pony Canyon label, making a strong wave in the POP scene with a slew of radio hits & a strong fan base.

Lion City Hardcore

Lion City Hardcore(LCHC) is the hardcore punk scene of Singapore. The establishment of LCHC dates back to the late 80s/early 90s. Pioneered and established by local hardcore group Stompin' Ground which soon after the release of their album "We Set The Pace" exposed much of hardcore punk music both in Singapore & South East Asia and soon spawned more local and regional hardcore bands. Much of the local hardcore scene in Singapore were derived and influenced by the New York Hardcore(NYHC) scene. The LCHC scene is still[when?] thriving with bands such as Overthrown, Sidekicks, Mouthful of Air, Suhaimi And The Union Of Equals, Straight Forward and etc. Bands from around the world have performed in Singapore, including the Canadian Comeback Kid, American hardcore punk bands Sick of It All, youth crew group Bold, Boston hardcore band Bane, Death Before Dishonour & straight-edge group Have Heart, Cruel Hand, Terror and First Blood originating from Los Angeles.

Heavy metal

Heavy metal has a small but not insignificant presence in Singapore's music scene. For the past few years, Singapore sees a rapid increase of Metal bands making Singapore a stop for them to perform. Bands like Exodus, Morbid Angel, Slayer, Dream Theater and Helloween have played in Singapore to receptive crowds, usually at an open field at Fort Canning Park. Small to medium scale gigs are held almost weekly at locations such as BlackHole212 or Substation. Most recently, on 15th February, 2011, Iron Maiden played to a crowd of 12,000 at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.

There have also been many notable local metal bands in the growing underground scene.

Special mention includes:

  • Black metal stalwarts Impiety whose name has traveled way past our humble shores,
  • Extreme Metal veterans Rudra who created a new metal genre called Vedic Metal and a cult following worldwide. The band has also attracted the attention of Musicologists. Several papers have been published about Vedic Metal and the band,[1]
  • Local Death metal band Absence of the Sacred had the honour of Kevin Talley, current drummer for Dååth and ex-Dying Fetus drummer, to session for them. [2]
  • Wormrot has recently been signed by UK record label, Earache Records. [3]

Metal bands in Singapore run the gamut and include bands from many varying subgenres. However it is not uncommon for bands from the more underground genres to view bands from more mainstream genres with disdain.

Unfortunately, there is little support for metal in Singapore's mainstream media. However, Metal music of this generation are lucky to be featured occasionally on Brader Bo's show, Vicious Volume of RIA 89.7fm. Oshiego was also featured in Lime Magazine's 30 Hottest Local Acts, a compilation CD, with the song "Now Suffer" originally from the titular EP.[4] hI

Heavy Metal Tribune Logo
Heavy Metal Tribune.

The local Heavy Metal scene is Singapore is not daunted by the lack of support from the local mainstream media, and has established its own ways of disseminating information by utilizing popular internet based social mediums such as Facebook, Twitter and Blogger. One notable organisation is Heavy Metal Tribune, which features many local metal acts as well as others from other parts of the world, mainly to allow each region to reach out to one another, while providing local metalheads to know what they are up against.

Heavy Metal Tribune also provides gig organisers with a platform to publicise their events, via their Facebook wall or its weekly 'newsletter'.

List of Singapore Metal Bands (Previous and Current)

  • Abhorer (Black/Death/Thrash)
  • Absence of the Sacred (Death Metal)
  • Aeondrift (Avant-Garde Progressive Electro-Metal, Nintendo Core, Djent)
  • Age of Sinfonia (Symphonic Metal)
  • Analdicktion (Brutal Death Metal/Grind)
  • Azra-el (Melodic Death Metal)
  • Bhelliom (Death-Thrash Metal)
  • Cardiac Necropsy (Death Metal)
  • Chaos Aftermath (Futuristic Metal, Melodic Death-Thrash Metal)
  • Crucifixion
  • The Corruptor (Death N Roll)
  • Dante's Theory (Djent, Technical Death Metal)
  • Dyeth (Death Metal/Grindcore)
  • Deus Ex Machina (Death-Thrash Metal)
  • Doxomedon (Brutal-Technical Metal)
  • Draconis Infernum (Black Metal)
  • Dystopian (Black/Thrash Metal)
  • Eibon (Melodic Black Metal)
  • Exuberance (Melodic Black Metal)
  • Fall of Mirra (Experimental/Hard-Core Metal)
  • Harvester (Melodic Black Metal)
  • Hella Morrigan (Black/Doom Metal)
  • Helvette (Black Metal)
  • Impiety (Black/Thrash Metal)
  • Incarnation Ov Seth (Melodic Death/Black Metal)
  • IronFist (Sex Metal)
  • ITNOS (Brutal-Technical Metal)
  • Kaliyuga (Melodic Death Metal)
  • Kalodin (Melodic Black/Death Metal)
  • La'Dies 靈骸 (Industrial Punk Metal)
  • Luna Azure ( Expressionistic Ambient Black metal)
  • MetalGunz (Heavy Metal/Rock & Roll)
  • MeltgSnow (Heavy Metal)
  • Meza Virs (Gothic/Black/Death Metal)
  • NoRestForTheWeary (Deathcore/Djent)
  • Oshiego (Death-Thrash Metal)
  • Pycho (Old-School Death Metal)
  • Rudra (Black/Death Metal, Vedic Metal)
  • Sanity Obscure (Progressive Death Metal)
  • Scaphoids (Progressive Thrash Metal)
  • Soul Devour (Death Metal)
  • Stillborn
  • Suicide Solution (Heavy Metal)
  • Thy Fallen Kingdom (Thrash Metal)
  • Tormentress (Thrash Metal)
  • Truth Be Known (Death-Thrash Metal)
  • Vrykolakas (Death Metal)
  • Vulgate Dogmas (Deathcore/Death Metal)
  • Wormrot (GrindCore)
  • Xanadoo (Thrash Metal)
  • Zushakon

Bands and Soloists

Alternative and indie rock music influenced bands in the 1990s such as Concave Scream, Humpback Oak, The Padres, Oddfellows, and Livionia. In the Pop/Rock genres were "KICK!", Lizard's Convention & Radio Active.

Recently, alternative, metal, grindcore, punk rock and rock acts from Singapore who may have gained some profile in countries other than the city-state of Singapore include John Klass, Firebrands, Stompin' Ground, Ling Kai, Inch Chua, Ronin, Anna Judge April, Electrico, Force Vomit, 4-Sides, Vermillion, West Grand Boulevard, Plainsunset, Etc, Caracal, Popland, The Great Spy Experiment, Sky In Euphoria, Rancor, Saw Loser (formerly known as Pug Jelly), Malex (Power Metal) , A Vacant Affair (Post-hardcore band), For Better Endings (Experimental Hardcore band) , Death Metal and Rudra who are significant for creating the genre "Vedic Metal".

Singaporean Ex-Pat Musicians

As Singapore is a small country without a large music scene, many Singaporeans have left the country in order to pursue their artistic interests or were moved by their parents at an early age. Notable examples include violinist Vanessa-Mae, conductor Darrell Ang, and singer-songwriter Dawn Xiana Moon.

National Day songs

Of particular note to the Singaporean music scene is what are often collectively known as National Day Songs (国庆主题歌). Written as part of Singapore's nation-building efforts, they either incorporate local folk songs (such as "Chan Mali Chan"), contemporary songs ("The Magic Is You"), or are specifically composed around a particular theme for the National Day Parade which is held every year on August 9.

In 1984, Stand Up for Singapore, was initially created for the sole purpose of celebrating Singapore's achievements in 25 years of self-government. Commissioned by the Ministry of Culture and composed by Hugh Harrison, the song struck a chord with Singaporeans, especially when they heard it performed by the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, and so the first 'official' National Day Song was born. The government, realizing just how much the public enjoyed singing as a way of celebrating, commissioned a new song for 1986. As a result, Count on me Singapore, also composed by Hugh Harrison, arranged by Jeremy Monteiro and performed by Clement Chow, became the 2nd 'official' National Day Song. The trend continued the next year, 1987, with We are Singapore, again composed by Hugh Harrison and arranged by Jeremy Monteiro. Then, in 1990 with the addition of One People, One Nation, One Singapore composed by Jeremy Monteiro with lyrics by Jim Aitchison for the nation's Silver Jubilee - 25 years of independence, the list of 'official' National Day Songs topped out at four.

Since 1998, National Day Songs have become less 'grandiose' and more popular in nature being composed for and sung by selected local artists and sometimes even included in their albums to be marketed overseas.

  • 1998: "Home" (家), by Kit Chan
  • 1999: "Together" (心连心), by Evelyn Tan and Dreamz FM (Evelyn Tan only for Chinese version)
  • 2000: "Shine on Me" (星月), by Jai[disambiguation needed ] (English version) and Mavis Hee (Mandarin version)
  • 2001: "Where I Belong" (属于), by Tanya Chua
  • 2002: "We Will Get There" (一起走到), by Stefanie Sun
  • 2003: "One United People" (全心全意), by Stefanie Sun
  • 2004: "Home" (家), remixed version by Lin Junjie, Kit Chan
  • 2005: "Reach Out For The Skies" (勇敢向前飞), a duet by Taufik Batisah and Rui En, composed by Elaine Chan. (The Chinese version is sung by Rui En only).
  • 2006: "My Island Home" (幸福的图形), by Kaira Gong
  • 2007: "There's No Place I'd Rather Be", by Kit Chan (陈洁仪) and Will You - Various Local Artiste
  • 2008: "Shine for Singapore" (晴空万里), by Hady Mirza (English version) and Joi Chua (Mandarin version)
  • 2009: "What Do You See" (就在这里), by Electrico (English version) and Kelvin Tan (Mandarin version)
  • 2010: "Song For Singapore", by Corrinne May

Other community-building songs:

  • 2005: "Sing Our Wishes" - Also used as official song for Ministry of Education schools for Racial Harmony Day 2005
  • 2005: "We Can"

An ad-hoc offshoot of these National Day Songs are the songs specially composed for groundbreaking events. A prominent example was the song Moments of Magic, written by Hype Records CEO Ken Lim specially for Singapore's millennium celebrations towards the end of 1999. It was performed by three notable singers - Fann Wong, Tanya Chua and Elsa Lin. The music video was directed by Singapore filmmaker Eric Khoo.

See also


External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Singapore Chinese Orchestra — The Singapore Chinese Orchestra (SCO) is Singapore’s only professional Chinese orchestra. Fact|date=February 2007As the flagship of local performing arts groups, the SCO has the patronage of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. It is located at the… …   Wikipedia

  • Singapore Armed Forces Bands — The Singapore Armed Forces Bands (commonly known as the SAF Bands) is the musical arm of the Singapore Armed Forces. Playing a vital role in the ceremonial parades and ceremonies, the SAF Bands provides musical support for parades such as the… …   Wikipedia

  • Singapore Indian Fine Arts Society — The Singapore Indian Fine Arts Society (Abbreviation: SIFAS) is an organisation that teaches Indian classical arts, including Indian classical music, in Singapore.Founding HistoryFounded in 1949 with a small group of dedicated music teachers from …   Wikipedia

  • Singapore Arts Festival — The Singapore Arts Festival (Chinese: 新加坡艺术节) is an annual arts festival held in Singapore. Organised by the National Arts Council, it is one of the most significant events in the regional arts scene. The festival, usually held in mid year for a… …   Wikipedia

  • Singapore National Youth Orchestra — The Singapore National Youth Orchestra (SNYO) is a youth orchestra under the purview of the Co Curricular Activities Branch, Education Programmes Division, Ministry of Education. Members of the SNYO come from primary and secondary schools, junior …   Wikipedia

  • Singapore Dreaming — Promotional Poster Directed by Woo Yen Yen Colin Goh …   Wikipedia

  • Singapore 2006 — was a group of several concurrent events that were held in Singapore in support of the 61st Annual Meetings of the Boards of Governors of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank Group. The opening ceremony and plenary sessions for the… …   Wikipedia

  • Music of Indonesia — Gongs from Java Timeline • Samples Genres Classical …   Wikipedia

  • Music of Brunei — Music of Southeast Asia Brunei Cambodia …   Wikipedia

  • Singapore Idol — logo Format Interactive reality game show No. of episodes 3 seasons, 54 episodes …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”