Awesome: "The Road Ahead" On A Ukulele, As A Dance, And Sung In Four Languages
STORY: Sim Ding En
12 August 2021
By now, many of us would be familiar with this year's NDP theme song, "The Road Ahead" - if not the whole song, then at least the first three words of the chorus, "see this iiiiislaaaaand". Thanks ah, TikTok.
Violent dancing and humour aside, we've been coming across more and more covers of the song written by local singer-songwriter Linying, who sings the catchy and hopeful tune with Sezairi, Shye, and Shabir.
To celebrate International Youth Day today, here are impressive and creative covers by some of Singapore's most talented youths:
On a ukulele
Mad skills. That's all.
This young man, who is all of 16, began his passion for music when he was given a ukulele in 2013 at the age of 8, and embodies the phrase "music comes from the musician, not the instrument".
"My dream is to be able to play so well, that I can spread the feeling of love and joy to those listening, and hopefully... more people will know how amazing this very very underrated instrument is! Let's Uke On!" goes his "About" description on YouTube.
Evan even has a whole album on Spotify called "After All". What were you doing when you were 16, huh?!
In four languages
This rendition has it all - from heartfelt solos to melodic duets to soulful melismas (that's a fancy term for those Mariah Carey-style running notes that stretch out one syllable) to unexpected key changes.
Featured in this video from left to right:
- Austin (on the keyboards) @aus_t.i.n
- Izzy @izzychenn
- Faisal @faivocals
- Atikah @n.bmrx_
- Thiva @thiivaaaa
Together, they perform as Wusic (short for We The Music), which is also a music education platform offering music coaching (for voice and various instruments) and jingle creation among other musical services.
Wusic was co-founded by esteemed saxophonist, flautist, and clarinetist Fabian Lim, an alumnus of not only the much-celebrated Berklee College of Music, but also the Music and Drama Company.
As a dance
Elements of classical ballet and modern jazz - both taught at Taneo Dance Academy (TDA) - find their way into this celebration of the human body in rhythmic motion.
Choreographed jointly by Terri Tan (principal and co-founder of TDA), Katharine Tan (TDA dance instructor), and students of TDA, the video directed by TDA's director and other co-founder Neo Ren Jie features the young talents twirling and pirouetting at iconic locations around our island - can you identify the spots?
Sung a cappella
When a song is sung a cappella, it means "without any instrumental accompaniment". That's right, every sound you hear in this version, from the harmonies to the percussion, is made by the human voice. Talk about Singapore United!
A cappella singing is probably as old as humanity itself, but getting the blend and balance of voices - in volume, tone and pitch (basically, not singing off-key) - is a real skill. And these folks - led by Teo Yong Kang who arranged this cover - have it in spades!