On a Little Street in Singapore

Media

Outside Paulaner in Singapore

It seems somewhat ironic that my latest song obsession would be about a place I'm homesick for since I just left it again, but this time it's the Manhattan Transfer's cover of On a Little Street in Singapore, originally written in the 1930s. I no nothing about music but when I was told it's played in a minor key I could tell it's quite different. The trumpets also sound "old", probably using some specialised mutes which again I know nothing about.

You can watch and listen on YouTube.

According to those dang Wikipedias:

"On a Little Street in Singapore" is a jazz song written by Peter De Rose and Billy Hill. Though now obscure, it had some measure of popularity in the 1930s and 40s, marked by a number of high-profile performances. Artists to cover the song included Frank Sinatra, Glenn Miller, Bert Kaempfert, and Jimmy Dorsey among others. Manhattan Transfer covered it again in 1978. The song features a haunting, lazy hook in a minor key, with numerous diminished chords. The overall impression is both languid and wistful.

They're right, it has a laid back, summer sound. Singapore has changed a bit since then (the understatement of the century) but sitting at the Long Bar at the Raffles Hotel, the Riders Cafe, the restaurant at the Botanic Gardens or even a hawker centre having kaya toast for breakfast the song lyrics still fit :).

Given we moved around Australia and South-East Asia when I was growing up which firmly established me as a third culture kid, I'm glad I was able to live in a place long enough to consider it home… or at least more home than anywhere else.

Author bio and support

Me!

Ruben Schade is a technical writer and IaaS engineer in Sydney, Australia who refers to himself in the third person in bios. Wait, not BIOS… my brain should be EFI by now.

The site is powered by Hugo, FreeBSD, and OpenZFS on OrionVM, everyone’s favourite cloud infrastructure provider.

You can leave me a comment by contacting me, and I might publish your thoughts. Please read the FAQs first though.

If you found this post helpful or entertaining, you can shout me a coffee or buy some silly merch. Thanks!