FOR A concept to work, it needs to be explained.
And explained well.
Rani Singam took to the Victoria Concert Hall stage to premiere My Muse: The Music Movie Of Our Lives on Saturday evening. The title doesn’t explain the intent of the concert very well, and by the end, the audience had a vague notion of what it was about.
While there were enough fans in the house to show their appreciation for Rani’s ability as a singer, that didn’t excuse a production that was wanting on several fronts.
A concept show needs to have a strong central theme and character. Rani, while comfortable delivering the songs, didn’t work in enough context and a strong narrative to bridge a disparate bunch of songs.
She also lacked the large performance necessary to keep the story going. A few tentative dance moves in glittering shoes were as close as she got. There’s no point being democratic in terms of sharing the limelight at the expense of the intended outcome.
The sound levels did little justice to Rani as the queen of the night. It was her show, no doubt with a strong ensemble, but it didn’t project her voice as it should have. Shawn Kelley’s brush play on the drums threatened to drown her out on a few occasions.
Musically, the eight-strong big band delivered an accomplished performance, and painted the potential for Singapore music. Rani embarking on a concept like this is perhaps a start point of creative projects that could raise awareness of local talent and bring in a wider audience mix to the concert scene.
Slow To Start
The evening started off on a low key and maintained that pace with numbers by Herbie Hancock, The Bee Gees with the curious juxtapositioning of e.e. cumming’s poem i carry your heart with me. In the heavyweight playlist were Rani’s originals with pianist Chok Keong.
The pace picked up well past the half way point, with Antonio Jobim’s Waters Of March. It continued in that vein till the sing-along session for Stevie Wonder’s As and the encore duet.
The show travels to Hong Kong later this month. Would that be enough time to script a stronger narrative that would explain the concept better and give Rani a better shot at being appreciated, this time by an away audience?