Singapore-born arts ensemble, The TENG Ensemble, launches its Triptych Series, a three-part video series to spotlight the critical role of migrants in Singapore through their music.
With the migrant community being one of the hardest-hit groups in Singapore's battle against COVID-19, the Triptych Series is in support of #SGUnited and aims to spread positivity amid these challenging times. The series also draws a common thread to our own ancestors, many of whom were migrants who came to Singapore during its founding years, thus paying tribute to the continued contributions migrants have made to Singapore’s success.
The video series will feature three original musical compositions, beginning with a collaboration with Tamil music artiste, Shabir, Thedichoru: Shabir X The TENG Ensemble, followed by Xin Zao Beh 《新走马》to celebrate migrants in Singapore’s past and present. The final video, Childhood, will reveal their unspoken hopes and dreams through a rhapsody of sight and sound, as the music is paired harmoniously with interviews that document the stories of migrants working in Singapore.
The first video of the Triptych series will be released on 27 May and available on The TENG Ensemble’s Facebook, YouTube and Instagram platforms. Subsequent videos will be released on 31 May and 4 June.
Video 1: Celebrating migrants in our midst
Thedichoru: Shabir X The TENG Ensemble
Release date: 27 May 2020
Featuring the first-ever collaboration between The Teng Ensemble and Shabir, one of Singapore’s most popular artists in the Tamil music scene.
The music video seeks to enliven and bring cheer to the lives of the Indian and Bangladeshi migrants through inspirational messages of strength, resilience and faith. Thedichoru is based on the writings of the colossal figure of 20th-century Tamil poetry and literature, Bharathiyar, and features The TENG Ensemble’s arrangement, interpretation and performance that bring different elements of our musical heritage together.
Video 2: Celebrating migrants in our heritage
Xin Zao Beh 《新走马》
Release date: 31 May 2020
Celebrate the cultural heritage passed down from our ancestors – many of whom were migrants involved in building and working in the newly established colonial port of Singapore - and commemorate the contribution of Chinese migrants through the decades.
Based on the famous Nanyin repertoire – Eight Horses 《八骏马》, Xin Zao Beh is a commissioned piece from The Forefathers Project and was filmed at Singapore’s oldest Hokkien temple, Thian Hock Keng. It is believed that Thian Hock Keng was built with the help of the local Indian community too, a testament of various peoples coming together as one to contribute to the success of our country.
Video 3: Celebrating migrants and their contributions
Childhood: The TENG Ensemble X Shabir
Release date: 4 June 2020
Childhood was composed for TENG’s inaugural album, Stories from an Island City, that features four popular Asian lullabies – San Lun Che (The Tricycle), Ni Wa Wa (Mud Doll), Burung Kakak Tua (The Cockatoo Bird) and Ikan Kekek (The Silver Belly Bream Fish). A fusion with Shabir’s vocals and showcasing lyrics based on Bharathiyar's poem Manathil Uruthi Vendum this time, it celebrates the many ethnic groups and migrants who make up the uniquely Singaporean cultural fabric. The video also aims to change the perceptions and acknowledge the role and contributions of migrants working in Singapore.