For the last few days of 2009, I shall be featuring things I really enjoyed for the year of 2009. I will be featuring the best wine I tasted for the year, the best cigars I smoked, the best film, etc... First off the block, the best music album for the year, in any language, is Rebecca Pan's (Poon Tik Wah) project (its a project as she was instrumental in conceptualising, but only sang a few of the songs) My Dream, My Way, My Indie Music.
What was so enticing was the concept. Rebecca, a hugely popular singer in her younger days, and still lives and breathes music in her blood. I think she is 79 by now. Its hard to see someone in her 70s still getting enough support to put out an album, but it must be due to her passion that made it happened.
The album is full of exciting indie music performers, which she must have invited (and they must have accepted gleefully). All except one guest artiste, Eason Chan is there as well and he certainly is not an indie artiste, delivering a heart stopping and fun Chinese Blues.
I doubt you can get the album in Malaysia, sigh... thanks guys, for broadening our appreciation of great music, these bloody record shops and chains ought to be cut down to size. When they filter what we can buy, they basically filter what we can listen to. They can say that its a smallish market to bring in independent music artistes, then we will all end up buying and listening to over-promoted, over-hyped, over-marketed albums only.
Rebecca has appeared in Days of Being Wild and In The Mood For Love, both stylised movies by Wong Kar Wai. I brought that up because her music would always fit in brilliantly in any Wong Kar Wai movies - its moody and reflective in her ballads, spirited and sunshiny in her fast tempo numbers, and always sung with passion.
Rebecca basically had the entourage reprising some of her famous songs albeit with a refreshing treatment. The CD comes with a hardcover 88 page book, with glorious photos of her yesteryears, describing the backdrop for each song, and interspersed with photos of the indie stars who are part of the album. Its a brilliant concept, hard to execute well.
Some of those who appeared in the album: PixelToy, Ketchup, Chet Lam, my little airport, at17 and Pancakes. The songs are done in English and/or Mandarin to great effect. The melodious songs have been recrafted and are vibrant to the ears.
(yes, that's her, Rebecca Pan on the album cover, a photo in her heydays... )
Nee Nee Wo Wo by PixelToy was cheery and fun. Chet Lam was devastatingly intimate singing Essence of Love and I've Seen You In My Dreams, the latter a touching duet with Rebecca and easily the best song in the album. Rebecca showed why she is a legend by also singing in French, J'attendrai and the haunting mandarin version of Siboney Amor.
I have been listening to the album at least a couple of times a week for the past 2 months and I am not tired of it at all. Its infectious and full of heart. Easily the best album I have listened to in 2009. The only bad track was by my little airport singing the English hit I Wonder Why, seriously, I could have sung better. Try and buy it when you are in HK, or get someone to buy it for you, or buy it online.
"Nee Nee Wo Wo" (1961) by PixelToy
"Solid Gold Rickshaw" (1967) by Ketchup
"Essence of Love" (1966) by Chet Lam
"Mágica Luna" (1961) by the pancakes
"Bengawan Solo" (1962) by at17
"I've Seen You in My Dreams" (1974) by Rebecca Pan & Chet Lam
"The Protest" (1974) by Gayamyan
"I Wonder Why" (1968) by my little airport
"J'attendrai" (1961) by Rebecca Pan
"Chinese Blues" (1962) by Eason Chan
"My Hong Kong" (1965) by Rebecca Pan & HK Indies
"Siboney Amor" (2009) by Rebecca Pan