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date: 23 February 2020

Singapore, Republic oflocked

  • Tong Soon Lee


Island state situated between peninsular Malaysia and the archipelago of Indonesia. Founded in 1819, it served as an important port of call for the British Empire in South-east Asia, gaining independence on 9 August 1965. The country has approximately three million people, who are largely descendants of immigrants from the Malay peninsula, Indonesia, China, South Asia and Sri Lanka. The ethnic make-up consists mainly of Chinese (77·4%), Malay (14·2%), Indian (7·1%) and Eurasian (0·4%), with other peoples, including Arabs, Japanese, Jews, Armenians and Europeans, making up the remainder. With a largely Asian population in a post-colonial setting, Singapore boasts a mixture of cultural attributes, reflected in its diverse musical culture.

The musical palette of Singapore is largely marked by music of the three major ethnic groups (Chinese, Malay and Indian), as well as Euro-American classical music and popular music in Mandarin and English. In the late 1980s, musicals by Singaporean composers had tremendous success in the country, followed by the advent of locally composed, produced and performed rock music in the 1990s....

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Musical Quarterly
Asian Music