Keeping traditional Teochew music alive

Groups reach out to the young as number of musicians shrinks, with many aged over 50

Some members of the Thau Yong amateur musical association (from left): Mr Tan Gee Seng, 67, on the cello; Mr Chow Kok Yong on the tihu; Mr Yeo Eiong Lok, 76, on the yangqin;, and Mr Sim Song En, 80, on the dizi at Kityang Huay Kwan's headquarters. Mr
Some members of the Thau Yong amateur musical association (from left): Mr Tan Gee Seng, 67, on the cello; Mr Chow Kok Yong on the tihu; Mr Yeo Eiong Lok, 76, on the yangqin;, and Mr Sim Song En, 80, on the dizi at Kityang Huay Kwan's headquarters. PHOTO: GIN TAY FOR THE STRAITS TIMES
Some members of the Thau Yong amateur musical association (from left): Mr Tan Gee Seng, 67, on the cello; Mr Chow Kok Yong on the tihu; Mr Yeo Eiong Lok, 76, on the yangqin;, and Mr Sim Song En, 80, on the dizi at Kityang Huay Kwan's headquarters. Mr
Mr Tong Wei Jie, coordinator for Nam Hwa Teochew Music Ensemble, practising on the Dizi. ST PHOTO: LOW DE WEI
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Mr Chow Kok Yong would sometimes receive an unusual request from his fellow musicians.

"They ask me to take care of their instruments after they pass on," said the vice-president of Thau Yong Amateur Musical Association, explaining that many of the Teochew music players are seniors.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 30, 2018, with the headline Keeping traditional Teochew music alive. Subscribe