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Soul Journey, Ten Years (2018)

Presented by Siong Leng Musical Association


Published: 3 Sep 2020

Time taken : >15mins

Growing out of an idea gestated in 2008, Soul Journey has evolved into an experience and endeavour that aspires to awaken the senses and breathe new life into nanyin

Ten years after its groundbreaking premiere, Soul Journey returns in the re-energised form of Soul Journey, Ten Years, a joint effort by artistic director Lin Shao Ling, cross-disciplinary artist Lim Chin Huat and composer Ng Kang Kee. Presented in a minimalist style with strong influences of Zen philosophy, this multi-disciplinary performance joins vocals and traditional Chinese instruments with Western and Indian ones such as the cello and the tabla to create a soundscape that is familiar but also fresh and invigorating. 

Comprising six movements: Germinate, Awakening, Introspection, Purity, Happiness, Heart and Enlightenment, this bold new reinterpretation of nanyin depicts the cycle of life and the different stages of self-realisation that make up one’s spiritual journey. Integrating theatre, dance and multimedia elements, Soul Journey, Ten Years will challenge every preconception of nanyin as an art form. 

Presented by Siong Leng Musical Association in association with Esplanade, Soul Journey, Ten Years was performed at Esplanade Concert Hall on 23 June 2018 as the opening act of International Youth Nanyin Festival 2018. 

Five things to know about nanyin

1. Nanyin (南音) also known as “Music of the South” originated from the coastal city of Quanzhou in China’s Fujian province almost 2,000 years ago with roots that can be traced back to the Han dynasty.

2. In more recent times, nanyin has followed the Chinese diaspora, making its way to countries such as Taiwan, the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore. 

3. The current state of nanyin remains close to its most traditional form with music, lyrics and performance methods hailing from the Song and Tang dynasties. 

4. Nanyin is traditionally performed by five musicians, with the vocalist seated in the middle and holding a clapper to set the beat. Two musicians on the left would play the dongxiao (bamboo flute) and erxian (two-stringed fiddle). On the vocalist's right, another two musicians would play the pipa (Chinese lute) and sanxian (three-stringed fiddle).

5. Dubbed the living fossil of ancient Chinese music, nanyin was listed as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO in 2009. 

Soul Journey, Ten Years

Credit List

Creative Team
Celestina Wang Pheck Geok Producer
Lin Shao Ling Artistic Director
Lim Chin Huat Creative Director & Choreographer
Ng Kang Kee Music Director, Composer and Arranger
Cai Wei Biao Nanyin Advisor (Music)
Goh Laichan Costume Designer

Production Team
Foo Mei Ling Production Manager
Yong Rong Zhao Sound Engineer
Gabriel Chan Lighting Designer
Low Wee Cheng Projection Designer
Debra Chua Stage Manager
Stephen Kwek Xiu-Wen Assistant Lighting Designer
Aw Wei Zheng Sound Operator
Eugene Tan Keng Soon Camera Operator
Wong Jia Hui Natalie Assistant Stage Manager

Principal Artists 
Seow Ming Fong
Seow Ming Xian
Lim Ming Yi
Lyn Lee Cai Xia
Joel Chia Ghim Siang

Associate Artists
Anita Yeong
Crystal Sim
Xu Yang Ting
Ng Leng Leng
Lin Siyao
Jonathan Tan
Roy Tan
Lim Ying Yi
Jacky Ng Yong Hoe

Guest Dancer

Tan Ting Feng Kenneth

Guest Musicians
Mirajkar Nawaz Mohammad
Loh Hsiao Shan
Teiw Hsien Hsien
Keuk Yan Zhang Daryl
Wong Wai Kit

About Celestina Wang Pheck Geok (Producer)

Celestina was appointed by SLMA’s late Chairman Teng Mah Seng as his successor to lead the association. As Executive Director, she is responsible for implementing SLMA’s executive and artistic vision including the expansion and promotion of educational programmes. An accomplished and versatile performer, she has nurtured an elite team of nanyin musicians and professionals that continues to fulfil SLMA’s ambition to preserve and promote the nanyin heritage. In 2010, Celestina led SLMA to the first prize in the Llangollen Musical Eisteddfod Festival’s “Folk Song” category. Over a long  illustrious career, she has spearheaded and directed a number of large-scale productions both at home and abroad. Her more notable works include Li Yaxian (2007), Moving Horizon: A Nanyin Journey (2015), When Will You Return (2016), Musicians of the Imperial Court (2016) and Unforgettable Love (2017).

About Lin Shao Ling (Artistic Director)

Shao Ling graduated from Fujian Arts School where he majored in Liyuan opera. After joining SLMA in 1995 as Opera Instructor and Programme Director, Shao Ling was promoted to lead the association as Artistic Director. In that position, he has helped nurture SLMA’s team of artistic and executive personnel to preserve and advance the art of nanyin while conceptualising new creative productions. Shao Ling’s body of works include Li Yaxian (2007), Soul Journey (2008), Soul Journey: Cicada Zen (2012), Soul Journey: Nine Songs (2015) and Moving Horizon: A Nanyin Journey (2015). 

About Lim Chin Huat (Creative Director and Choreographer)

Chin Huat is a cross-disciplinary arts practitioner with over two decades of experience in capacities such as creative director, choreographer, visual artist, performer, dancer, production designer, mentor and educator. He is known for his stunning theatrical works that are often multi-disciplinary, site-specific and non-conventional in nature. Prior to becoming an independent arts practitioner, Chin Huat had worked with Toy Factory Theatre Ensemble from 1990 to 1996, and subsequently, as co-founder and artistic director of dance company ECNAD from 1996 to 2013. A Young Artist Award and Professional Artist Grant recipient, he was a nominated for the Spirit of Enterprise Award in 2004. Chin Huat holds double diplomas in Dance and Fine Arts from the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts. He has taught at the Intercultural Theatre Institute since 2015.

About Ng Kang Kee (Music Director, Composer and Arranger)

Kang Kee is an accomplished local music composer, arranger, and producer who has produced music for artists such as Jeff Chang, Alec Su and Kenji Wu. In 2011, he was awarded the Silver World Medal at New York Festival for his work on commercial soundtracks. For the past decade, his compositions have been focused on traditional music, leading to collaborations with SLMA to produce acclaimed nanyin fusion music concerts such as Soul Journey and Soul Journey: Nine Songs, which have toured the United States, Europe and Asia. He recently founded Happy Productions to promote positive youth culture and development through creative multimedia productions.

Siong Leng Musical Association (SLMA) was established in 1941 and since then, it has grown into one of Singapore’s most notable music ensembles. Under the guidance of its late chairman Mr Teng Mah Seng, SLMA became known as a premier arts company with a mandate to preserve, promote and revitalise the art of nanyin. In 1983, SLMA brought nanyin to international prominence when it came in third in the "Folk Solo" category of the 37th Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod with Mr Teng’s composition Reminiscence. Over the years, SLMA has continued to nurture the next generation of nanyin practitioners while touring major cities across Asia, Europe, and the United States. A recipient of the National Arts Council Major Grant from 2019–2022, SLMA was conferred the inaugural “Singapore Chinese Cultural Contribution Award” by the Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre in 2017. 

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