Sunday, 28 December 2014

Drum Gaia Rehearsals, Marina Bay Countdown to 2015

Hello everyone! With 2014 about to end, I'm back with another lead-up event regarding the Marina Bay Countdown (: 

As mentioned in my previous post, there was one event which I mentioned regarding Drum Gaia. Drum Gaia consists of a group of 400 drummers coming from various drum communities and enthusiasts who have gathered together to showcase a spectacular performance this 31st Dec. I'm glad to be able to catch one of Drum Gaia's rehearsals which was held a couple of weekends back. 

I was also able to have a short interview with Riduan Zalani who is one of the composers of the score for the fireworks display and in charge of the Drum Gaia segment (: 

Riduan has started learning traditional Malay drums at the age of 7 and then he moved on to percussion drums and undertook a diploma in music at Laselle College of the Arts. He's really proud that he is from Singapore as he travels a lot around the globe for music. The name "Drum Gaia"came really naturally and consists of an arsenal of drums from all around the world; there are even drummers from the SCDF where they drum on fire extinguishers to create music! 

Here are some close-up photos of the drums that were used at the rehearsal; it's fascinating how all these different percussion instruments from various cultural backgrounds come together to create music and rhythm. 

When asked on how he incorporated the drumming element in this year's fireworks music (since it is the first time live drumming has been included), he answered saying that it would start off with very loud drumming for the first 45 seconds, followed by choreographic drumming to music and the fireworks would then be triggered with drumming. It is also rare to find drumming in sync with a fireworks installation, so this Drum Gaia is definitely one event to look out for! He spent a lot of time with the leaders of the various drumming communities who have come together to create cohesiveness of the drums too (: 

His inspiration was to create that harmony between all of the different drums and to invoke a sense of nostalgia in the piece to represent various phases of Singapore. 

A snapshot of Riduan in action; leading the drummers 

Next, I asked about what are some of the challenges faced when coordinating hundreds of drummers. And he mentioned that there were not much major difficulties except for the coordination of schedules. But some of the things that had to be considered were: (1) that each type of drum is different, (2) some drummers are professionals whereas some were novices.

He is really touched and encouraged by the enthusiasm to learn by the drummers who all come from different backgrounds and ages. Many of them have forged friendships among each other and showed great energy during rehearsals! It's like how they are different people who've come together because they share the same vision and love for drumming and they can't wait for the next performance and to see how Drum Gaia can grow to even 1000 drummers in future. 

I've never been very musically-inclined although I really do enjoy singing, but you could really feel the passion in him when during the interview when he spoke about his love for drumming and music. I ended off my interview by asking Riduan what would be his wish for Singapore in the New Year. He hopes that all of us would learn to appreciate more about the simpler things in life, love Singapore as we have always have despite all of the changes that are happening and to constantly think of how it was like before in the past. 

I've also managed to catch the media preview (new post coming up!!) for the countdown where they created a simulation of the fireworks display, and it is absolutely amazing because the music, drumming and fireworks display are really all in sync together!!!

They'll start drumming from 6pm onwards on the 31st of Dec (more details here) so do head on down if you'll like to catch them earlier and you'll also be able to try the drums out if you're lucky! 

It's definitely something to look forward to for the countdown (:

Thanks for reading! (:
Love, Jo 

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Marina Bay Singapore Countdown: prelude

Hello everyone! I'm finally back at this space; the semester has been absolutely nuts and I'm so glad it's over and I have about a 4-5 weeks holiday break before the start of the next semester (which I hear is gonna be even more crazy).

But okay, here's to happy and carefree days once more! :D

Well, December is definitely one of my favourite months of the year because of Christmas and New Year. So....I'm excited to announce that I'm gonna be one of the official bloggers for the Marina Bay SG Countdown 2015 this December! 

Since we are counting down into the Jubilee year (50th year of independence for Singapore, the events this year have been specially tailored to embrace local talents, efforts and sights.

Some of the activities ongoing now include the Wishing Spheres Project, where people can pen down their wishes on spheres which would be set afloat at Marina Bay as an art installation. I've actually written one before about a couple of years back I think! (: 

Wishing spheres installation in 2012 (Photo credits to

 For this year, the unique thing about this project is that, it now includes red spheres (5000 of them) which would form a '50' in the water, being surrounded by the other white spheres. 25,000 of these spheres would be set afloat in celebration of SG50 (: There are lots of wishing stations located all around Singapore; click here for the full list of stations and their opening hours. 

There is also an ongoing photography competition, where participants can submit photos and stand to win prizes! (: The theme of this year's photography competition is 'Happy Jubilee' and here are some of last year's winning entries:

First prize winner - 2014

Second prize winner - 2014 

Third prize winner - 2014

More details about the photography competition can be found here (:

And of course, I'll like to share a little about the events which would be happening on the 31st of Dec itself too! There's something for everyone; young or old (: 

These events include: 
 Aux Media group presents: Celebrate With the World 2015
MediaCorp presents: Celebrate SG50
These two events are ticketed entry events and they are concerts held in celebration of the countdown. Lots of local and overseas artistes would be present ( Stefanie Sun and Big Bang, and DJs such as Ronski Speed and Nicole Chen).

It consists of a series of drum performances by 400 drummers who would perform 'live' and these drummers come from institutions such as Ngee Ann Poly and SMU to drumming bands such as Sambarang Batucran. These performances would be ongoing from 6-12am on the 31st of Dec. 

Esplanade Presents: Celebrate December (19th - 31st Dec)
This event by the Esplanade (at the Esplanade concourse and outdoor theatre) includes the holding of craft workshops, musical performances and many other activities. 

Marina Waterfront Bazaar
A bazaar would also be held around the MBS area where people can shop around for items such as fashion apparel, accessories and handicrafts. There would also be refreshments sold at the bazaar (:

Reflections of our Past, Present and Future (26th - 31st Dec)
A digital art showcase from the Fullerton Hotel to Merlion Park would be shown at various timings from 8pm to 12am. The audience can watch how the landscape comes alive with lights and colours

Let's not forget about the fireworks display as well which would be up at midnight. I've always loved fireworks; Tzu and I actually managed to catch them 2 years back at Gardens by the Bay and it was wonderful watching them with him (: 


I'll be covering some of these events which I've talked about above and giving away some tickets too, so do stay tuned to this space!

Love, Jo