Saturday, October 31, 2015

SWF 2015 :: Island of Dreams

Themed 'Island of Dreams', this year's Singapore Writers Festival (SWF) offers plenty of exciting sessions for everyone. I've already trawled the website to mark the lectures/discussions I'm keen on.

The Arts House and the Civic District are the official venues for this year's events. I was late to the Opening reception and its events! It was a work day lah, and meetings ran long. Instead of having a comfortable 40-minute buffer and all, I only had 10 minutes to sort out festival passes and all that. The venue was abuzz with humans, a buffet line and plenty of drinks.

Zoomed straight to exchange my SISTIC ticket for a festival pass, grabbed a drink and said hello to many people. Was given a festival tote bag and freebies from Aēsop. Managed to hug the few whom I've truly missed. Am so pleased with the third straight day of blue skies and no haze that I was in such a pleasant sociable disposition. Then I hopped in to my first event next door at Victoria Theatre- a double-bill gig by I Am David Sparkle and In Each Hand A Cutlass.

Slipped in about 15 minutes after I Am David Sparkle came on stage. Wheww. The band took the opportunity to play new songs from its new album 'Art is Blood'. Hadn't heard them live for a long time. Very good to sit back to listen. It was a 45-minute set. Pretty all right. Not too long but not short. Quite like this new piece 'Holy Trees'. Can't wait for the album to drop.

I Am David Sparkle.

I've heard the orchestras at the adjacent 673-seater Victoria Concert Hall, but I haven't stepped into the Theatre yet. What a lovely experience. How awesome is it to also have post-rock gigs here. Goodness. The bands really sounded huge in 614-seater Victoria Theatre. It's a beautiful venue, splendidly refurbished. Seats are comfortable. Needless to say, sound is fantabulous. The sound engineers balanced the loud with the median tones. The music simply washed over the theatre evenly. There were so many events happening tonight. Glad I attended this.

So fun that SWF commissioned In Each Hand A Cutlass to compose a theme song. Titled 'The Paper, The Pen, and a World Began', the four-minute song is pretty radio-friendly and still rings uniquely of the band's characteristic sounds. No lyrics. A literary festival and music? Of course they go hand-in-hand. I applaud this new dimension to the programming of the festival. Musicians and writers — they create, they imagine, they persuade. They talk about worlds, reality and reflection, pain and joy. Festival Director Yeow Kai Chai said in an interview with TODAY,

“Essentially, I wanted to break down barriers between genres, languages and audiences,” he explained. “Does it only have to be from a book? Perhaps you can access (literature) from other channels and media, through music or drama. That might be one way for some people to be inducted into the world of literature.”

In Each Hand A Cutlass.

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