Right in the established part of town is a platform for the arts, HELP CAT’s Auditorium, which formed the perfect backdrop for SMBA’s latest gathering. A night out on the town for an exclusive one-night concert with The Glue, was just what the doctor ordered for a mid-week break on Wednesday, 23 March 2016. The Basel-based a cappella quintet was in town on their Asian tour thanks to the auspices of the Embassy of Switzerland, who offered to bring in the group while on their Singapore leg of the tour.
Members of the SMBA were feted to a pre-drinks session before the concert at the ante-chamber to the auditorium. The round of mingling saw both old and new faces, with a good number of guests arriving for the first time to an evening with SMBA. Members of The Glue, clad in their distinctive shade of blue, gave the guests something to talk about prior to the show. Catching up with Oliver Rudin, the front man of The Glue, led to a promise of a spectacular show involving their original compositions and a challenge to guess which eight languages they will be singing in that evening.
The Deputy Head of Mission to the Malaysian Embassy of Switzerland, Mr Rolf Ott, when met before the concert said, “We are keen to support young artists from Switzerland who are in the region. It gives us a chance to contribute and let them add a city to their Asian tour, which is a rare treat given the costs to bring in Swiss acts to this region.” Fresh from the Francophonie show, in which the Embassy contributed 15 dishes to be presented as well as a UM exhibition, warm bilateral ties between Malaysia and Switzerland are to be expected with continued cultural exchange.
La Bouche Qui Rit – Lift Off!
As members of the SMBA were ushered to their VIP seats in front while members of the public, staff and student body made their way into the auditorium, Mr Rolf Ott gave a welcome address and introduced The Glue as an a cappella group singing since 1997 and the quintet was known to sing in the three main languages of Switzerland, which are German, French and Italian and of course, to engage with the Malaysian crowd, in English as well. With that, guests had only to guess the other four other languages that The Glue performs in.
Aside from their touring duties, The Glue has been together for a very long time. Tumasch divulges that they have known each other since they were kids and they used to sing together. Oliver pipes in to say that they met each other in the boys’ choir and even though there have been changes to the line-up of The Glue, with master beatboxer Michael joining them the last, they have been making music together for close to a decade.
Without further ado, The Glue launched into their headlining theme song, La Bouche Que Rit, which was also the titular track of their album and concert. It was evident that even without introduction, the cohesion within The Glue was remarkable. With Jonas Göttin producing the brass and trumpets sounds, lead man Oliver Rudin as a tenor and producing the strings sounds, percussion unit Michael Moor, Gregor Beermann as a bass and Tumasch Clalüna as back-up vocals, the harmony produced equaled a full-fledged instrumented band.
Segueing into the first cover of the night, A Man of Constant Sorrow, made famous by the seminal movie, “Oh Brother, Where Art Thou” drew instant nods of recognition from the crowd. The ensemble picked up pace with their own composition and even throwing in a Chinese song which they wrote and attempted for their Asian leg as the fourth song on the set. The jazz and blues mix formed The Glue’s main staples and very soon, when it got to the seventh song, they tried a Spanish cha cha, which got everyone tapping their feet to the beat.
Talking about beat, Mr Michael Moor gave the audience a class in beatboxing two songs before the audience of 120pax sat up in seats and joined in the fun of creating backing vocals to The Glue’s German original. There was a 20-minute intermission, in which most of the audience took the opportunity to browse for The Glue’s merchandise in the foyer of the auditorium. Andrea, one of SMBA’s guests mentioned how he loved the relaxing feel of the evening brought by The Glue and shared that it was good to meet someone from The Glue from his hometown in Switzerland, which made him feel connected to his roots even when he was far from home.
The second set saw The Glue back for more, with an opening French song right before introducing the English song which won The Glue the Europe Song Contest and a bit of a background into how The Glue got so big in Asia. Mr Michael Moor came up with another class in beatboxing set to The Beatles’ classic, Life Goes On. After two more songs, The Glue called it a night. However, due to a standing ovation from the crowd, they returned and presented a hip shaking French original song during the encore. The crowd went wild with some of their own moves after some prompting from The Glue to dance to their hit. Needless to say, all guests left in high spirits after the concert.
There was an autograph session with The Glue right after and members of SMBA and the audience were free to take pictures, autograph their merchandise and ask The Glue interesting anecdotes about themselves.