Moreso than ever, it has been more difficult to define the "sound of Singapore" — although our former editor judiciously chimes in his opinion on the matter, which is worth a read — but Sounds Of Singapore will showcase acts that, at their very roots, present an intriguing synthesis of the cultural identities of Singaporean races with various forms of music.
But the comparisons stop there, as these acts have their own idiosyncratic styles.
Take SA, whose latest album Flow ended up on our Top 10 list of 2016 albums. While the term "fusion" usually invites an element of predictable accessibility — who knows which circle of hell "reggae fusion" came from — SA's improvisational techniques are remarkably complex, but the three songs that make up Flow end up rewarding after multiple listens.
On the other hand, an ensemble like NADI Singapura invite ecstasy through dense, joyous percussive rhythms rooted in Malay culture. Kulcha throws caution to the wind, introducing a myriad of Asian and non-Western instruments to the mix, while Flame Of The Forest explores the depths of Indian classical and folk music with a fresh, focused perspective.
These four acts will be performing part of Sounds Of Singapore, a live music series organized by the UNESCO-NIE Centre for Arts Research in Education (CARE) that will also include a Q&A segment, and a special screening of a documentary on these acts at Aliwal Arts Centre.
NADI Singapura will perform on January 9th, Kulcha on January 10th, Flame Of The Forest on January 11th and SA on January 12th. All events will be happening from 7.30pm to 9pm at Aliwal's The Black Box. Entry is free but requires RSVP through here.
Watch why we think SA's Flow was one of 2016's best albums from Singapore: