Little India Journeys

A musical journey of Little India

through the eyes of the community

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10 Life Journeys

 

Lived experiences

10 Journey Scores

 

Painted on canvas

10 Journey Pieces

 

Transformed into music

Neil Chan is a world musician and fingerstyle guitarist from Singapore who uses world music to express and elevate the emotive aspect of stories. His work blends musical cultures from around the world including Carnatic, Jazz, Flamenco, and Andean music to create a uniquely hybrid and improvisational style.

 

Believing in the power of music to connect people across cultures, his endeavours have led him to conduct music outreach programmes in Singapore, India, Timor-Leste, Indonesia, and Myanmar.

The Artist

The Process

Collaborative Creation: Journey Scores

Participants took on the role of composer and conductor by painting their Life Journeys on canvas as Neil responded with live music to variations of each stroke, colour, and shape. These Journey Scores would later be used in the music composition process as a form of graphic notation.

Narrative Storytelling: Life Journeys

Participants then narrated their Life Journeys as depicted by their Journey Scores to camera. Each narration was recorded by Neil to be used in the final music composition.

Composition & Production: Journey Pieces

Using each Journey Score as graphic notation, Neil then composed, recorded, and produced 10 Journey Pieces to accompany the oral narration of each participant.

Graphic notation: Representation of music through the use of visual symbols

Musical Style & Concept

Completely improvised on the guitar, voice, and panflute, elements of Indian music are infused into the music through the use of konnakol, mridangam strokes on the guitar body, and raga-inspired melodies.

Konnakol: Performance of percussive syllables vocally

Mridangam: Barrel drum used in Carnatic music

Raga: Melodic framework for improvisation and composition

Begin Your Journey

 

Sid

"If there's only one star that comes up in the sky, you will just start to see that."

 

Edward

"Even though there are big changes, I feel that the

character of Little India is still there."

 

Joyce

"It was a very eventful life,
it is an eventful life till now!"

 

Ahmed

"Now I see that my life's sun is setting..."

 

Tzong Sheng

"I would call myself a local tourist to Little India."

 

Selvi

"I'm not going to give up.

I can do it, I will do it, and I want to do it."

 

Stephen

"It was almost like a flashback. I could smell India, and I felt completely safe"

 

Rajveer

"I want to reach the peak,

I still have hope."

 

Hasan

"I made many friends.

Singaporeans, Indians,

and Bangla men."

 

Pandian

"I wish to continue, maybe till my last days, my journey in Little India."

The NAC Community Arts Residency

Little India Journeys is part of the National Arts Council's Community Arts Residency programme, where

Neil Chan was Artist-In-Residence at the Indian Heritage Centre from September 2019 to January 2020.

 

The NAC Community Arts Residency aims to support practising artists in advancing the field of community arts in Singapore. Through the Residency, artists will have opportunities to inquire, develop arts-based collaborations and co-create artworks with the community that will shape communal public spaces and reflect the collective stories of the people.

 

An initiative by NAC in collaboration with the Indian Heritage Centre (IHC), the Residency complements Little India’s cultural vibrancy, bringing to life the shared experiences and stories of the residents and spaces in the locale.

An Initiative By

In Collaboration With

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© 2020 Neil Chan Music. All Rights Reserved.