Discovering Stanley Jordan and A-Five

For the past few weeks, something else has been distracting me from music. But it all came back when I caught two inspiring performances this week.


On Monday, I attended a talk by Stanley Jordan where he spoke about using music as therapy. I wasn’t even paying attention to his credentials when I saw the poster for this. All I saw was ‘jazz guitarist’ and that made me decide that I should go have a look, whoever he is.

Pardon my ignorance, Stanley Jordan fans, but as I found out later, he is a four-time Grammy nominee and a pioneer of ‘tap’ technique on the guitar. Wow!

During the session, he only played two songs and the rest of the time, he shared about his work in music therapy. It was fascinating for me to find out how powerful music can be. But what really touched me was how he was so immersed in his music while he was playing. And for his second song, he actually played the guitar and piano together.

If you don’t know who Stanley Jordan is, there are lots of videos of his performances on YouTube.


On Wednesday, I decided to catch a performance by an a cappella group from Korea called A-Five. I haven’t heard of them but since they do k-pop (which I’m into lately), I thought it would be interesting to go watch them.

When they walked in while the recital room was filling up, the five young men looked just like any of the students in the audience (ok, except for one who was weaing sunglasses).

I was somewhat subdued at the start of their performance but by the end of the first song, I have warmed up to them. They sang a mixture of English and Korean songs, including I’m Yours (Jason Mraz), Almost Paradise (T-Max; from the OST of Korean drama, Boys Over Flowers), Only You, How Deep Is your Love, Gee (Girls’ Generation), Nobody (Wonder Girls) and Insomnia (Wheesung; Korean remake of Craig David’s song of the same title). My favourite song by them has to be Shackles (Praise You).

These guys are really good, especially the beatboxer. You could feel the vibration of the music, especially for the fast numbers with a disco beat. Though the performance wasn’t flawless, I really enjoyed it. I’m very certain most, if not all, in the audience did too. And A-Five obliged with calls for an encore.

I love the energy displayed by these guys. And the passion when they sing.

What’s also interesting for me was trying to understand what the ‘spokesperson’ in the group said in Korean. Not much luck, I have to study Korean harder. But one of the guys can speak pretty decent English and did the English translation, so it wasn’t that bad.

A-Five will be performing at The Arts House Chamber, Esplanade Recital Studio, at 8pm tonight (Thursday, 14 October 2010) . If you do not have anything planned, it should be worth the while to catch their performance.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t find anything about A-Five on the Internet and can’t tell you more about them but I chanced upon this video of their performance:


Did you catch Stanley Jordan’s performance at the Esplanade on 10 October 2010? Will you be catching A-Five’s performance at The Arts House Chamber tonight?

I would love to hear about it.


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