Shiyue (诗乐) is a genre of Chinese poetry accompanied by music pioneered by the final batches of Nantah (南大) students in the 1970s, which served as a precursor to Xinyao (新谣). In recent years, it has experienced a resurgence among a young generation of musicians and poets, seeking to breathe new life into the written word through musical expression – be it classical music or choral singing. At the forefront of this movement is Quek Yong Siu, an instrumental figure who has helped bridged worlds of literature and music with his dual identities as a poet and music composer.
This performance (7.30pm–9.15pm) charts his musical journey in the revival of Shiyue in Singapore, featuring close to 18 of his original creations pairing works by renowned Singapore poets to song. It shines light into the history of Shiyue, defining characteristics of it, as well as the differences between past and present forms.
The pre-show lecture (5pm–6.30pm), presented by Prof Zhang Fan and Quek Yong Siu, will draw on practical examples to explore the connections between“poetry”, "new music” and “modern Nanyang poetry with music”. They will also share insights on how the art form originated, its cultural significance and evolution through the decades.