AFTER interviewing hundreds of people over the past three years, the authors of a 222-page book on Penang’s popular music finally launched it to the delight of music lovers.
Penned by local bassist and guitarist Paul Augustin with co-author James Lochhead, the book is titled ‘Just For The Love Of It - Penang’s Popular Music 1930s - 1960s’.
It highlighted the influence of political events on the role of radio, television and cinema in transmitting popular music.
Augustin, 55, said the book was the result of hard work and the interest of hundreds of music lovers.
“People contributed their stories, photographs, music and memories,” he said at the book launch at The Star Pitt St. in Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling on Saturday.
“This is part of the ongoing Penang Music Heritage Project which is all about helping to reclaim, celebrate and document the richness of Penang’s musical heritage,” he said.
He said writing the book was an emotional journey.
“Along the way, there was also sadness as some of our friends have passed on and we felt a sense of loss as the 50s and 60s will never come again,” said Augustin.
“It was a real privilege to work on the book and be inspired by so many people.”
Augustin added that one of the challenges of working on the book was knowing when to stop.
“We collected thousands of newspaper clippings and photographs. The book is just 40% to 50% of what we have,” he said.
He also shared the hope of setting up a music interactive museum and resource centre.
“The younger generation will find it harder to find such materials. We need support and sponsors to house the documents,” he said.
Lochhead also acknowledged the crucial input of designer Adrian Cheah and project partner Think City.
“The book’s design is spectacular, thanks to Adrian.
“We couldn’t have done this project without Think City’s backing. The book is truly a collective effort and we thank everyone who helped us,” he said.
Think City chairman Datuk Anwar Fazal said it was rare to have a book that spoke to people in such a special way.
“We have music heroes who are legends of Penang. Every time you hear them, it gets into your soul.
“The book is not just about music, it tells you about Penang’s history, economy and politics and how music was part of it all,” he said.
During the launch, renowned local musicians Ray Rozells and his brother Frankie belted out famous tunes to entertain the visitors.
The book’s publisher is Strategic Information and Research Deve-lopment Centre. The book also comes with a free CD of 24 tunes.
There is also an exhibition on the first floor of The Star Pitt St. to mark the book launch. There, visitors will get to view posters of performances and shows of the past.
Entrance is free for the exhibition from now until May 16 (9am to 6pm).
The book comes in softback (RM60) and hardcover (RM120) editions. It is available at Gerak Budaya Bookshop at 78, Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling, 10200, Penang.
Call 04-2610282 or e-mail email@example.com to book a copy.