Xinyao pioneer Liang Wern Fook to hold his first concert in April 2015

Singer-songwriter Liang Wern Fook performing at a Xinyao Reunion Concert at The Star Theatre. He has never held a concert of his own and will be holding a gig centred on his works at The Star Theatre on April 11, 2015. -- PHOTO: TCR MUSIC STATIO
Singer-songwriter Liang Wern Fook performing at a Xinyao Reunion Concert at The Star Theatre. He has never held a concert of his own and will be holding a gig centred on his works at The Star Theatre on April 11, 2015. -- PHOTO: TCR MUSIC STATION

It hardly seems possible but xinyao pioneer Liang Wern Fook has never held a concert of his own.

The oversight will be addressed on April 11 when a gig centred on his works will be held at The Star Theatre. Tickets from $68 to $158 are available through Sistic from Dec 8.

The Cultural Medallion recipient is one of the leading lights of the xinyao, or Singapore songs, movement which took root in local campuses and blossomed in the 1980s. He released five seminal albums between 1986 and 1992 and his works include classic tracks such as Xi Shui Chang Liu (Friendship Forever) and Singapore Pie.

Speaking to media at Toast Box at Chijmes on Dec 5, the singer-songwriter addresses the question of why it has taken so long. It is not as though there have not been offers by concert promoters but a big part of the answer has to do with timing.

Liang, 50, says: "In the 1980s, I was a singer-songwriter. In the 1990s and after, I moved behind the scenes and I didn't really want to perform on stage then. I worked with a lot of foreign singers and wrote things that were different from my compositions in the xinyao era. Although I was pretty low-profile when it came to performing, it was a fruitful period creating songs."

Between 1995 to 2011, he notched up five Singapore Hit Awards trophies for Best Local Lyrics for songs such as Kit Chan's Worried and Bowie Tsang's No One. He wrote pop hits for top stars such as Everytime I Wake Up for Andy Lau and She Came To Listen To My Concert by Jacky Cheung.

In recent years, there has been a revival of interest in xinyao and he has dipped his toe into performing once more at events such as the annual Chong Feng (Reunion) xinyao shows.

With next year marking Singapore's milestone 50th birthday and the 35th anniversary of Liang's first composition written in 1980, A Song For You, he felt that the time was finally right. He has wondered: "As a musician, how could I express my feelings for this country and this land that I love on this occasion?"

The concert is not just about xinyao, but a reflection of the journey taken by local musicians over the last 35 years.

With over 200 published compositions to choose from, finalising the track list will be no easy task. Indeed, everyone has their favourite Liang Wern Fook track and since word of the concert got round, people have been asking him whether he will be singing this or that song.

"All will be revealed that night," he says.

He is also keeping mum on the guest list for the evening. "I can only say that there are quite a few and they represent different eras. I was quite touched that many of them quickly agreed when I called to invite them," he adds.

There are further surprises in store as some songs will be presented in a fresh manner, perhaps featuring a different combination of singers or he might sing a song previously written for someone else.

He is also planning a very special treat.

Asked if he has thought about updating songs such as Singapore Pie (1990), which pithily condensed decades of history, he says: "While it's a little early to reveal this, I'm hoping to give the audience new chapters for some of my songs. It's been many years and there have been different stories in the interim. I'm still working on them."

Book it

FOR MUSIC, FOR LIFE... LIANG WENFU CONCERT 2015

Where: The Star Theatre

When: April 11, 7.30pm

Admission: $68 to $158 from Sistic (call 6348-5555 or go to www.sistic.com.sg) from Dec 8