Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Didgeridoos & Menopause Blues

"Singapore Has Talent!" ~ that's what I'm tempted to exclaim each time I meet local musicians who take a leap of faith and do bold new things like these. That's how I felt today when I sat there listening to Jamal Nasser play the didgeridoo.

Well, if you just went "huh?", join the club. The didgeridoo is a wind instrument from the aborigines of northern Australia. And Jamal is part of a home-grown ethnic instrumental band called Earth Modes Sanskrit. The other band members who joined him were darbuka player Bryan Lucas, and composer-lead guitarist Eddie Ibanez.

Earth Modes Sanskrit share their unique music: 
(L to R) Jamal Nasser, Eddie Ibanez, Bryan Lucas. 

They'll be performing their very unique brand of World Music at the upcoming Heartlands CLAP! this Sat 7 Feb, 7.30pm @ Toa Payoh Hub. And CLAP! is an initiative of the Central Singapore CDC to make the arts accessible to the masses. In 2006 alone, they managed to reach out to 58,000 people in the heartlands. I think that's mighty commendable! 

What's captivating for me is not so much that Earth Modes Sanskrit uses rarely seen & heard instruments such as the didgeridoo, darbuka (goblet-shaped Egyptian hand drum) & djembe (percussion from Ghana, West Africa), but that they're bringing them together to create a new fusion sound through original compositions. I don't think it's like anything you've ever heard in Singapore before, so do check 'em out!

But local talents weren't all we had in The Living Room this morning. We had some imported from the US of A as well. And Stan & I had a roaring good time chatting with two cast members of Menopause The Musical, which will begin its run this Friday 6 Feb @ DBS Arts Centre.  

From Menopause the Musical, Megan Cavanagh & Christopher Callen.

If Megan looks familiar, it could be because you've seen her on the big screen with Madonna, Geena Davis & Tom Hanks in the hugely-successful 1992 movie, A League of Their Own. Remember the one about the all-girls professional baseball league during the World War? Gosh, that movie made me cry so hard I just had to take a pix with Megan! 

It's a curious thing that women don't talk openly about menopause. It's almost like we see it as a disease. So while this musical is funny & light-hearted, to me it also serves to throw open the doors for women to talk candidly about this biological inevitability. It's like The Vagina Monologues in some ways, isn't it? A topic that's taboo, but which a play was able to bring to society's dinner table as a conversation piece.

And if you're a man, you'll love it more than the women ~ so say Chris & Megan. "The musical cracks men up even more because they recognise these characters in their mothers, wives, sisters," Chris explains with a chuckle. So men, no pause! (no pun intended) Grab your tix at Sistic

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