The Sultan Gate area is always bustling with a diverse crowd of locals and tourists, young and old. The elders enjoying the warm sentiments of this place, perhaps over a cup of Teh Tarik (local milk tea) and some fresh local pastries. The young whereas, in their cute little squads, patronising the hipster cafés and other colourful mumbo-jumbos. Thereʼs always something for everyone. But one thing weʼve always found they all to have in common is a love for music. Regardless of the genre, language or eras they listen to, folks in the area all love a good little dose of music. From the sounds of darbouka from Turkish eateries, to the gamelan (Indonesian instruments) along Bussorah, Qasidah (Muslim chants and prayers) in the small specialty stores, Reggae and Mambo down Haji Lane, the choices here are endless. The sight of buskers along these streets too are nothing unfamiliar.
I recently sat down with a very young busker in the area, Sharifah Aliah Aljunied, or Lily, as she prefers to be called. Seeing her perform on stage, it is hard to believe this very timid teenager is only 17 years young. It is as though you see two very different people on and off the stage. Lily, who will soon be featured in our monthly young talentsʼ showcase, Lit The Stage, shares of how she found her love of music and the support of her family. Her talent was first discovered by our team as she was happily busking away along the sidewalks of Bussorah Mall. Her father runs a business there, specialising in an ancient Malay weapon called the Keris. It is a hereditary business and she has spent most of her weekends there since young. Since realising her love for music, Lily has garnered the support of her family and with some push, she explored the idea of busking at the familyʼs shop front. Lily admits that when she first started, it was not easy to attract the attention of passers-by. With some commitment and a great deal of motivation, she soon found her tune that sets crowd.
Lily, who will soon be pursuing her music studies at the famed LaSalle College of the Arts, also enjoys writing her own songs and shares them on SoundCloud, an app dedicated for sharing of music and podcasts. Being a young and independent artist, she is not all focused on creating high-quality audios but would rather share raw sounds and recordings to the crowd. Lily is solely passionate in music and has no intentions just yet to produce her music in a more commercial aspect. She also hopes to continue entertaining the crowds in Sultan Gate and let it be the platform to fuel her passion. Our team at SultanGate.sg will continue to support young talents like Lily in their pursue for the arts and wish her the very best in all her future endeavours. Do look out for her performances and other exciting events by following us on Instagram (@sultangate.sg) and Facebook (SultanGate.SG) for the latest updates and happenings in the area.
Written by : Junid
Photo by : Wanie Maz