MURAKAMI, love and jazz is the combination coming from homegrown band WVC at a three-night gig soon.
The indie DIY jazz outfit comprising Tay Cher Siang (piano), Julian Chan (saxophones), AJ Popshuvit (bass), and KJ Wong (drums) has been around since 2006 with plenty of gigs home and abroad as well as a few albums tucked inside the sleeve notes of original music.
It’s a first for the band to have a three-night showcase in the city, themed Music of Words, offering five concerts starting Aug 23.
Says Tay: “Each of the concerts offer very different perspectives. But if there is only one day for you, then please come to the first night concert on 23rd Aug, as we are premiering some new music.
“Most of the music that first night are related to love: Do Not Go Gently and Rage Against the Dying of the Light (two original compositions) were inspired by Dylan Thomas’ poem: Do Not Go Gentle Into The Good Night.
“I was touched by the poem, which was written by the poet to encourage his ailing father. At the time of reading and writing these works, my late father also was fighting with ailments, and it was sort of my way of showing my love to my father, with whom I wasn’t really close to until a few years ago, sadly that was the last few years of his life.”
Also on love is an arrangement of Gustav Mahler’s famous Adagietto, his love letter to Alma, who later became his wife.
There are two new pieces written specifically for this concert, in collaboration with Chong Keat Aun, based on the folk songs he collected during his decade-long work. These folk songs are about the love of mothers, the love of wives, when our forefathers left their homeland to come to Malaya to work.
“There was this song that has lyrics like this: There are a leap month (extra month in Chinese Calendar), why can’t there be a leap hour (so I can stay longer),” says Tay.
There will also be a pre-Independence Malayan song entitled Hitam Manis, and the world premiere of three pieces, all based on poems from the Song Dynasty (circa. 1000 AD), to be performed by vocalist Izen Kung.
The second show on Aug 24 will surely appeal to Haruki Murakami fans, and avid readers. It will be preceded by an 11am screening of the award-winning South Korean film “Burning” which is an adaptation of Murakami’s short story.
“Murakami said that music has influenced his writings, especially the rhythm, phrasing of jazz improvisation has taught him a lot about writing novels.
“As for me, I find reading to be a source of creativity and inspiration. Some of the imagery from Murakami’s works inspired me to compose: Elephant Vanishes, Hard-boiled Wonderland and the End of the World, The Colourless One.
“Also, we will be performing some jazz standards and songs that were mentioned in Murakami’s novels.
“What makes these concerts special is that, we are having three narrators: Ye Hui for the Chinese language version (3pm), Gareth Richards and Bettina Chua Abdullah for the English language version (8pm). They will be reading passages from the novels, in complement to the music.”
The last concert on Aug 25 will see another WVC pioneering project entitled If Music be the Food of Love, Jazz On! Shakespeare and Jazz.
In 2016, on the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, WVC embarked on a journey to create a swathe of musical works inspired by the bard. Putting music to sonnets, creating music inspired by evocative scenes from some of Shakespeare’s most famous plays, WVC staged an acclaimed show in KLpac and is set to bring this series of music to the stage again.
This set of music was recorded and published in WVC’s sixth studio album: Give Thy Ear. Joining them are Aaron Teoh and Lim Soon Heng.
That’s a myriad of influences for this premier jazz ensemble, who enjoyed a fun gig on the movie, Crazy Rich Asians.
“WVC started out playing music composed by others. After our second album, we started to compose more original music, and now we are at our sixth album (Give Thy Ear 2018), all original material.
“We are quite lucky that we could take our own sweet time to develop music that we care for: compositions that are inspired by literature.
“Also we could experiment and develop a group of Malayan compositions with tinge of Malaysian flavours (Seketika Sebelum Merdeka concerts).
“Nothing has changed is our attitude towards music, we try to incorporate various elements, styles, stories into our music, to create a true Malaysian experience: mixture of many cultures and perspectives.
“Jazz has always been a niche and minor market in Malaysia. But as far as I know, this seems to be a good time for live music, and homegrown talent. Of course we are not talking about million dollars business model, but DIY, independent jazz scene.
“We see many young musicians making it as musicians, writing and disseminating their own original music. WVC is a good example of that, we do it very much DIY style, and we make a living doing what we love.”
MUSIC OF WORDS
When: Aug 23-25, 8pm with extra 3pm matinees on Saturday and Sunday
Where: Venue: Blackbox, Damansara Performing Arts Centre (Empire Damansara, Jalan PJU 8/8, Damansara Perdana, Petaling Jaya)
Tickets: RM65/ RM165 for three concerts
Please Whatsapp to 017-3643202 or call DPAC ticket office: 03-4065 0001/0002
Free screening of the movie ” Burning ” (24/08/2019 Saturday – 11am ) with proof of purchased ticket to any concert required.