GEORGE TOWN – Music genres like boria, ronggeng, dondang sayang, inang, joget and keroncong, which were once popular, are seldom heard now and may sound alien to some of the young generation.
Realising this, the Penang House of Music (PHOM), set up in November last year at Komtar here, is making efforts to preserve the art and musical heritage.
“Music is one of the important elements in the development of the state’s history and culture and it is because of that the House of Music is set up, to document and preserve the musical heritage before it becomes extinct or disappear.
“It is important for the future generation to know what happened in the world of music in the past and to appreciate it because it is also a history of the cultural development of the various races in the state, ” PHOM director Paul Augustin told Bernama here.
He said PHOM was set up with the objective of giving recognition to the musical greats, apart from the legendary Tan Sri P. Ramlee, who originated from Penang.
“People only know P. Ramlee from Penang, but there are actually many more musicians such as Ahmad Nawab, Ahmad Daud, Jimmy Boyle, as well as several popular music group,” he added.
He said PHOM, which showcased the rich music history and stories since as early as the 1940s, would also serve as a platform for present music lovers to obtain information, as well as inspire the young generation to venture into the music world.
“This place is opened to the public everyday for them to express their love for music. For those who do not have musical instrument, we have piano, bass, drum and many more which they can use,” he said.
Augustin said among the attractions at PHOM were its resource centre which had a collection of music from various countries, and the ‘Black Box’ which served as a stage for music lovers to sing or play musical instruments.
“Normally, in the afternoon on weekends, we have performance at the Black Box and sometimes, we have popular musicians dropping by,” he added.
He said visitors also had the opportunity to be a radio dee jay at a recording studio which highlighted the history and development of the broadcast medium.
Here, visitors can get hands-on experience being announcers and presenting songs on the airwaves, as well as download recording of their voice to their telephone or computer keeps, he added.
He said the house also had a collection of vintage radios, newspaper cuttings and magazines, photographs and old vinyl records.
“More interesting is, there are old songs sang by local singers who were popular overseas,” he said, adding that most of the items showcased were donated or leased by the musicians or their family members.