Little India Journeys
A musical journey of Little India
through the eyes of the community
10 Life Journeys
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.
Little India Journeys was performed live in February 2020 with an exhibition at the Indian Heritage Centre.
Scroll sideways through the photos to see what happened!
In the Media
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
"If there's only one star that comes up in the sky, you will just start to see that."
"Even though there are big changes, I feel that the
character of Little India is still there."
"I'm not going to give up.
I can do it, I will do it, and I want to do it."
"It was almost like a flashback. I could smell India, and I felt completely safe"
"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