On 27th November, the TENG Ensemble (TENG) is set to release a music video of the traditional Teochew lullaby Ong Ah Ong to re-invent music for dialect traditions and ignite new interest for Teochew culture and music. The piece is born as an extension of the Forefathers Project and pays homage to the dialect and its heritage.
Set to be released on TENG’s social media platforms, the video is inspired by how, in ten years, Singapore has seen a decrease in Chinese dialects being spoken at home from 30.7% to 19.2%1. It would not be an overstatement to claim that the predominant users of dialects are the older generations and its appreciation is slowly being lost among the young. TENG is able to breathe new life into dialect music as a result of four years of work in the Forefathers Project. The project involved TENG learning and documenting from musicians in various dialect groups in an effort to innovate age-old traditions.
Viewers will follow the less-than-enthusiastic daughter and her mother as they go about cleaning up their home during the Circuit Breaker period. As their bond grows stronger, the daughter finds an old camcorder and home videos of her late grandmother gently cooing Ong Ah Ong to her younger self. As the story comes to an end, the daughter freezes in melancholy whilst filming her mother with the very camcorder that captured the memories of her youth – noticing that her mother is no longer the young woman seen in the old tapes.
Through the lens of the old, TENG seeks to rekindle memories lost in the clutter of modernity and inspire the young to reconnect with their seniors and cultural roots. Dr. Samuel Wong, Creative Director of The TENG Company, said: “At TENG, we wanted to make the past alive in the present, and re-introduce this lullaby so that it would not be forgotten amongst younger generations.”
For more information about the Forefathers Project, visit the website here