Striking a chord

Young and old, there was a song for everyone in Singapore as the tunes of the National Day Parade (NDP) struck a chord last Friday night.

In a breakaway from previous years, the show's music director Elaine Chan and DJ Aldrin Quek mixed chart toppers such as Turn Up the Love, Titanium and Just The Way You Are with traditional melodies like Count on Me Singapore;

One People, One Nation, One Singapore; and crowd favourite Home.

"It's a birthday party celebration and I really wanted to have fun with it," said Ms Selena Tan, creative director of the NDP.

"A lot of people love the national songs, but a lot of people also connect with the popular songs as well.

"It's not so insular any more, we are exposed to a lot of things. We are citizens of Singapore and citizens of the world."

Included in the three-and-ahalf hour parade soundtrack were upbeat tunes about the five-foot ways of Katong, the bright lights in Geylang Serai and romance in Queenstown - all penned by local songwriters.

"The USA has New York, New York, Route 66 and I Left My Heart in San Francisco. I wanted to celebrate different parts of Singapore," said Ms Tan.

The music was in tune with this year's NDP theme, Many Stories... One Singapore.

Work on the music, which showcased a range of sounds from electronic to orchestral, started in January.

Even the National Anthem at the end of the show was re-arranged to include ethnic instruments such as the Anklung, a traditional Indonesian bamboo instrument, and Dizi, a Chinese flute.

"So that it feels like we are embracing all parts of Singapore... that's what we're known for, our multi-culturalism," said Ms Chan.

"But I dare not put too much as it's not correct, just a little at certain points."

The highlight was this year's National Day theme song, which was roundly criticised by netizens when it was first launched last month.

Last Friday night, the negative comments were shrugged off by the spectators as they sang and danced to One Singapore.

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