Monday, June 13, 2011

Post Postgrad

Its been slightly more than half a year since i came back from England. Just for memories sake, this is more or less what has been happening in my life for the past 6 months

Tasted the delicious Rojak Mee and Cendol at Kajang

Gig with the fabulous Janet Lee

Went to Marina Bay Pangkor Laut with Janet for an event. Not as charming as it looks, the place

An evening duo gig with jazz singer Gina Panizales at YTL's house

This is the model of YTL's house

Yummy Middle Eastern food before a private function at J.W. Marriott

Went to Bangkok with family

Went for my life's first ever friend Jeffrey's surprise birthday party which he wasn't surprised at all

Preparing to sing and play for Cheryl's Samad garden/sea view wedding dinner at Lone Pine Resort Penang.

Had great Penang hawker food the next day

Interesting sushi dish - Nasi Lemak flavour. With sambal and cucumber in the middle. This was at a corporate event i played for at Pavillion

Finally, this 4WD rammed into the back of my car. Im safe but this is my latest headache.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

still a lil' bit

Something i recorded cuz i felt like it. Nothing edited though. Just from my laptop's mic direct and dry. This music is something i've felt strongly lately.

Stones taught me to fly
Love, it taught me to lie
Life, it taught me to die
So it's not hard to fall
When you float like a cannonball

There’s still a little bit of your taste in my mouth
There’s still a little bit of you laced with my doubt
It’s still a little hard to say
To say what's going on

*music and lyrics taken from Damien Rice's tune 'Cannonball'

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


I dont like distance. Whenever I'm with people, I tend to want to draw closer to them, talking about things that matter in life, about art, pondering on what's to come in the next phase, guessing when's the next phase in life, figuring out what's the current phase. Like many others, i think a lot. In the past few weeks/months I have met some distinctive characters who have gone through experiences that I never want to go through. Older people, of course. In a way im addicted to having these intriguing/emotional/heartfelt stories and conversations, so much so that when I hang out with my peers, I suddenly have nothing to talk about, not that I'm very much different to them.
In a way though, hanging out with my 'seniors' most of the time has brought me (or at least make me think/perasan lol) to a more realistic point of view. Sometimes too realistic for me to feel that life can actually be lived. I try my best, nevertheless. Enjoying, i mean. =/

On the contrary, I like space. Lately I tend to distance myself from people closest to me, like family. Dont get me wrong, i love my family to bits. Maybe its the adjustment period from my stay in UK, or maybe I just want to live alone again. As implied earlier, i like to lean on people around me. Or the other way round. Im jolly and all on the outside around people. I like involvement. But now im tired. Its just a sadness that has swept across my soul, I don't know how to explain. Of course it has to do with certain recent events, but i know it started as soon as I was back. Im hoping to move out and stay on my own but i know now the time is not right. I believe most things do work because of the right timing, and vice versa.
Maybe its not entirely a bad thing what I'm feeling because lately i've been able to relate to certain kind of music very well, which contributes to my music library in my head, heart, soul, whatever. Afterall, Jazz is about pain, isn't it?

Life has been good since i came back. Im living my dream job, not short of work/cash nor time for myself. I really shouldn't be complaining. But i do feel like the same zombie I was when I was away from home for a while. Now I need distance. I'll try to make this my only rant for this season.

I leave you with this tune performed by Jazz pianist- Bill Evans

Sunday, July 11, 2010

the amazing 4 seasons

Autumn was depressing because i just arrived in england and wasn't used to the cold and trying to adjust to everything new to me.
Winter was depressing because it got dark at 4.30pm everyday and the cold is just unbearable.
Spring was depressing because it was supposed to be warm but it wasn't.
Summer is depressing because everyone has gone back to their hometown and country and im left here alone.
Now i've covered all 4 seasons in a year. One more autumn and im back for good. Cant wait.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Performance Critique Sesson at LCM

Well, this was just a casual session organized by my professor. Anyway, I just had one 30 min session run-thru with my trio the day before. I think that my pronunciation and clarity of words could be better. Its a self-conscious thing. I am not used to opening my mouth in front of a crowd and sing clearly, confidently. Projection of voice, i guess it has improved compared to a few months ago, but again, need some work on consistency. My piano solo is probably too long if judged from a commercial performance point of view. Either that or it is just not entertaining enough. Anyway, I've still a mountain to climb in terms of grasping of the jazz language and all other stuffs including technical. But I hope it has a borderline entertainment value for those who watch it.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A weird day

As I was walking to college, just before the entrance, a guy was walking home but approached me and talked to me.

James: hey, what course are you in?
Me: im in jazz
James: third year?
Me: (embarrassingly, as usual) im in the masters.
James: oh i see, I often hear you practice in the practice rooms, and you sound really good. When will your recital be?
Me: Um... (going thru my mind was my next recital in June and the upcoming Headingly Jazz fest in May) recital will be in October.
James: Ok i'll look out for that one
Me: Cheers.
*both of us walked off*
Me: Sorry, i didn't get your name
James: James (duh), what's yours?
Me: Wei Li
James: Wei Li?
Me: Yeah... *continued walking* See you soon...
James: Cheers

As I was practicing, a vocal lecturer, Nikki Allen, who watched me sing and play in one of the workshops I was participating in a few months ago popped into my practice room:

Nikki: Have you seen a black book lying around when you came in?
Me: Nope
Nikki: Okay, btw, are you the singer-pianist?
Me: Yeah Im learning to sing
Nikki: Would you like to perform in a cruise? Would you be interested?
Me: Um... yeah, maybe...
Nikki: But do you have a large repertoire?
Me: Not really, I'm starting to gather vocal repertoire though...
Nikki: Yea because it will be 4 sets of 45 mins each
Me: yeah I'm trying to learn more tunes nowadays. When will it be?
Nikki: September
Me: Oh my finals will be in October and i'll have classes
Nikki: Anyway it will be a whole year round thing if you're interested after that.
Me: Okay maybe then we'll talk about it

I dont know why, but I just find these two dialogues strange. I'm not exactly flattered because I know my own standard in music and I'm not easily impressed by myself. In fact sometimes I'm too critical. But anyway, not that I'm too keen on the cruise job, but it makes me think that maybe I should start learning more vocal tunes.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Time to get out of my cocoon, I guess

It's been around 7 months since I've left my beloved country, family, friends, lover, enemies (i dont think i have any), mamak stalls, grandma's cooking, my white iswara (which im gonna sell when i get back), etc. It has also been that long since i played in a gig/public performance.

It has been a good time shedding, keeping to myself, practicing and learning. I admit that its a constant struggle being here, not that my life is miserable, but in some areas like musicality, loneliness, and the freaking winter.

The faithful open market - my favourite 'hangout'

I like being alone. When i mention loneliness, i do not mean so much of being lonely but rather being alone. Sometimes my struggle with this is that i choose to be alone at times. The same way when i was in KL doing my degree. I often choose to just stay in my room all day when i do not have work, just order a takeaway at eat in my room, watching dvds, series, one after another until the day ends. That was my routine. My routine here is very much the same. But it feels different. Even though I choose to be alone, many at times when im out, i feel that im being isolated by the people here. Everyone here is friendly and appear not to be racist. But at the same time, most of them try to avoid having a conversations with me. Most of it are smiles, hi, bye, and disappear. Its hard to hang out even if I ask them to because we'll usually run out of things to say to each other. Even just a few days ago when i decided to play football with the guys from my college whom most of them i've never spoken to, during the break i tried to have conversations but they just gave single word answers and tried to ignore me in a friendly way. They have their cliques and i feel that i just dont belong. I also take the fact of during the match most of them would choose not to pass the ball to me. Taking all these into account, i do not blame them. I used to do the same to foreigners when i was studying in M'sia. I feel more comfortable with my fellow country-mates, not having to try so hard to think what to talk about or what NOT to say so I wouldn't offend the person. Just trying to keep life simple. But that did not mean I was racist. So I wouldnt say they are racist. Of course some of my classmates would hang out with me at times; most of them not English, some are Irish, Polish, Nepalese, American, etc. And that explains why i see Asians hang out with Asians here. I seldom see a clique with mixed colours. There was once a random English girl spoke to me and i wasn't paying attention so I just said "pardon" and she immediately did a waving gestured with her hands like she didn't mean to say anything to me since I couldn't understand English. Hello??

Spent Chinese New Year in Sheffield with Willie (guy) (duh) who's an old friend, and his other friends.

Went for steamboat

It was a good time during December though, when Adeline came for a visit during winter. Winter is the most depressing period because it gets dark early in the evening (4.30pm) and the general mood of everyone is pretty lowbeat. So it was good that Adeline came. We had fun during our visit to Barcelona too. And i had fun cooking all the meals for her.

In Barcelona's Park Guell with the colourful Salamander

Speaking of not gigging, I am finally going to be participating in May, in Headingly Jazz Fest, which I will play and sing. I think its about time that i get out of my skin and put what i have practiced into my performance. It has been a good time being away from public performances, which is what I have wanted. After all the times in M'sia just having gigs non-stop, it can be pretty monotonous musically. Thats one of the reasons I came here, apart from learning, is to take a break from my life temporarily. It is hard to improve in many ways because there's lack of inspiration to improve musically back there.

One of the many workshops I've attended during my time here. This was a touring jazz band from Canada. They had a Brazilian vocalist who's amazing.

Despite what all i have said, its been good being here. I've learnt to cook some dishes. I've had an interest in cooking since i was young and i remember having to stand in the kitchen very often next to my mom watching her cook because i was interested in cooking. I was just too lazy to bring myself to do it. It has always been my dream to learn to cook.
Being in England, I feel closer to the football scene as well. My real passion has always been football instead of music, except that it has no realistic value. But I've never watched (on screen) so many matches in a season in my life before until I came here. It has been good. And next week I'm going to Old Trafford for the first time, the stadium of my beloved Manchester United. World Cup is coming soon so it will be great as well.

My ticket to Old Trafford - The Man Utd treble '99 winners will be playing in this charity match: Yorke, Cole, Johnsen, Stam, Irwin, and many others from different eras. There will also be performances by UK pop artistes and dance groups.

Monday, October 12, 2009

New chapter of an unfinished book

So here i am in Leeds pursuing my masters in jazz, configuring my life all over again, using previous' "life" experiences as the core of my survival. I've been very fortunate to have studied away from home in kl for my degree. But anyways, its not hard to survive here in the uk.

Basic essentials are pretty cheap, in most cases, its the cheaper or equivalent to the prices in Malaysia after conversion, for example: Shampoo, toothpaste, Snickers, and most supermarket factory packed products.
Food will be dollar to dollar, which can be quite costly. So for the 33 days I've been here, I have been cooking mostly, thanks to my mom who's a great cook and have been sending recipes to me. But still, its not as expensive as london for sure!

The music scene here is awesome. There are bands gigging in many venues every weekend and most weekdays as well. Every genre here is big; indie, pop, electronic, jazz, classical, etc. And the level and skill of musicians here is pretty high, especially the jazz musicians in my college. Brings me down to the ground but its good for me i guess because i'll be too lazy to work my ass off back in kl. They have alot amazing lecturers here as well in LCM (Leeds College of Music).

The shopping here is pretty awesome as well, most people with spending power will go crazy, though many items are pretty affordable here. Well i heard some ppl say that according to some survey, leeds is one of the top shopping destinations and places to live in the world.
The only bad thing bout this place is that it has trash everywhere. Bits of paper and plastic that people just litter around. A friend told me that the garbage collectors are kinda on strike as well, not sure how true isit. Anyways, here are some pics of the city centre that i've snapped from my phone:
Of course not all areas are as 'trashy' as this, but this is how bad it can get.
This theatre playhouse is just next to my college and anyone under 26 years old are entitled to 5 free tickets every one and a half years.
Im very fortunate that im staying 5 mins walk from the city centre, which is where my college is at. So everything is very accessible for me. Okay thats for now. Ciao.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Black and Blue

In less than 90 days' time, I'm gonna be sitting in the room, staring at the blank wall, all by myself. Just like my days at ICOM. This might just be the loneliest journey of my life.