Yesterday and today – the music you can sing along to

Listening to music on the radio in Malaysia is like taking a giant retro step in to the 1970s & 80s.  It’s like they picked up all the North American throw-away stuff that the west didn’t want.  It kind of reminds me of going through my brother Ralph’s records for the garage sale back in May – no offense, Ralph.  It brings back memories of your youth with these bands you had totally forgot about or were 1-hit wonders.  The radio station advertises songs from the 80s right up to today, but I don’t hear much from the last 10 years.  They tend to play a lot of Dan Hill, Air Supply, Captain & Tennille, Abba, Olivia Newton-John, Elton John, Lionel Ritchie, Richard Marx, etc.  I have to admit I really like Hazard by Richard Marx and I had to go out and get that one.  I found a cd store in the mall called Rock Corner, which has a pretty good past and current collection, if you can find it on their shelves.  CDs are filed by ‘male’, ‘female’ or ‘group’, and then it is in an alphabetical order (sort of) by first name.  Recently I bought the new Red Hot Chilli Peppers cd called I’m With You.  It was playing in the store and I really liked the sound, and silly me, I had to ask who it was.  I’ve never been a big fan, although I did see them live at Neil Young’s Bridge School Concert a few years back, but I like this album.  Another new cd I picked up is Superheavy, which is a coming together of five different music personalities and styles with Mick Jagger, Dave Stewart, Joss Stone, Jr. Gong Marley and A.H. Rahman.  Don’t let the name of the album and the band, fool you – this is not super heavy music, but rather a refreshing, energetic & lively blend of styles.  Mick’s unique voice is prevalent on most cuts although he doesn’t take over the album.  I have never heard Joss Stone before, but her voice is incredible and I’ll have to look in to her music.  There’s also a reggae flavour to it, and even a bit of  rap (just enough to make it interesting) before Mick blows it out of the water.  John Stunt, if you’re listening, check out this album.  I think you’ll dig it.


I think I’ve grumbled about the concert scene here before.  It’s practically non-existent.  Many artists don’t perform here because of the political and religious interference.  The present ruling party has banned many performers because they might contribute to the “moral decay of youth”.  Malaysia is seen as an “unwelcoming host”.  In 2008 when Celine Dion played here, she was forced to cover up with leggings and according to the newspaper report it was an insult to her and she looked so uncomfortable.  One student said all we get is Englebert Humperdinck every year!  Most bands would rather play Singapore, which has much less red-tape.  Alice Cooper is coming to Singapore in October.


For you lucky people in Pembroke, and surrounding area, go out and get your tickets for Ron Sexsmith and Matthew Good coming up soon at Festival Hall.  For lovers of Irish music be sure to catch the Maken & Spain Brothers.  I’d be at all three if I were there!  Anyone who goes, can you report back to me through the ‘leave a comment’ on this blog.  I’d love to hear how these shows go over and I’m especially interested in hearing how Pembroke takes to Matthew Good who tends to add quite a bit of ‘spoken word’ to his acts.  I really like the chatter because I feel if you just want to hear the music you can sit at home with the cd.  I like to hear the stories as well.  Matthew has a bit of an acidic tongue, which Pembroke may or may not be comfortable with.  (  or  Also, check out concerts at the Neat Cafe in Burnstown (  This is one of our favourite venues, in a very intimate, old-schoolhouse, concert setting, and it’s Arlene’s best latte cafe to boot.

This is not a paid commercial announcement but I’m open to offers!

4 Responses to Yesterday and today – the music you can sing along to

  1. Arlene says:

    The music here certainly does evoke all kinds of memories from years ago. It’s like we get to relive our youth! One thing I notice too is that while teenagers here are similar to ours back home, the one gadget they are missing is an ipod! Occasionally I will see a student with earphones on–the big ones! However, the night cafes where everyone hangs out to eat and party have big screens with music videos. These of course are more current. I think that the government (Muslim) controls what is allowed to be aired.

  2. Hello Arlene, I am not sure How else I may contact you, so here goes, I am an artist who lives in the ottawa valley and am entering an upcoming competition for a local landmark and I wanted to do grey gables(I paint acyrlic on canvas and love the photo you have posted and would like to use as reference photo.. Just wondering about image rights ? is it your photo? If not do you know what the copyright migfht be on it? Thanks so much I hope to hear back!! Really love it! Thanks!!

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