Getai goes modern at Getai Soul festival

There will be no feathers or sequins at the music festival Getai Soul, taking place at Pearl’s Hill City Park tomorrow and on Sunday.

Expect a contemporary and multicultural line-up that has nothing to do with the Hungry Ghost Festival – instead, it is about an experimental fusion spirit that mashes old and new.

There will be jazz, soul and funk music by home- grown talents such as singer-songwriter Charlie Lim, soul group The Steve McQueens, soul/R&B band TAJ, as well as jazz fusion group RaghaJazz. From a little farther afield are Japanese funk/punk act Za Feedo, Indonesian jazz-funk artist Barry Likumahuwa and Malaysian pop/R&B singer Najwa Mahiaddin.


Classical Chinese musicians from the Siong Leng Musical Association will present a fusion brand of nanyin, a genre that dates back to the Han dynasty.

There will also be a puppet performance by Sin Ee Lye Heng Teochew Opera Troupe as well as a collaboration between Cantonese opera artist Ye Ruoshi and dance duo ScRach Marcs.


  • WHERE: Pearl’s Hill City Park

    WHEN: Tomorrow and Sunday from 1pm

    ADMISSION: From $48 for a single-day pass

    INFO: Go to for details and the full line-up

Getai Soul is part of a series of getai-themed music events organised by arts curation agency Getai Group, which is responsible for events such as Getai Electronica, Getai Ethnica and Getai Mash+Ups in the past year.

The getai moniker came about because its organisers, F&B entrepreneurs Lionel Ang and Carmen Low and musician Timothy De Cotta, were inspired by the egalitarian, mass-entertainment spirit of these annual outdoor concerts during the Hungry Ghost Festival.

Each edition focuses on a genre of contemporary music and showcases Singapore groups. The first event, Getai Electronica, was staged in February last year in the open-air rooftop carpark of People’s Park Complex in Chinatown and featured home-grown acts such as electronic duo .gif and psychedelic-rock band Spacedays.


De Cotta, 30, says: “When we first checked out the venue, the first thing that we thought of were getais. We wanted that local vibe associated with the Hungry Ghost Festival celebrations.” He will also perform with his bands TAJ and Tim De Cotta & The Warriors at Getai Soul.

He expected Getai Electronica to draw about 200 people, but about 1,200 people showed up. The second event, Getai Ethnica, held in May last year as part of the Singapore HeritageFest, had a turnout of 1,500.

The organisers are expecting a similar figure for Getai Soul. While about 25 per cent of the tickets have been sold, they expect most festivalgoers to get their tickets at the door.

De Cotta says having a mix of modern and traditional elements in the festival’s line-up taps the “deeper, metaphorical identity of soul music”.

He adds: “Soul music includes many genres that take inspiration from African-American rhythms. But we also want to help rejuvenate Singapore’s rich cultural heritage.”

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 06, 2016, with the headline 'Getai show with soul'. Subscribe