In January 2011 , a group of avid swing dancers came together to eat, be merry, and decided to form a band . They named their band Steamed Eggs & Ginger.
Since then, they have become the most talked-about swing band among the swing dancers , lindy hoppers and tap dancers in town.
Yet , little is known about this group.
JUYL wondered who they are, called-in their hotline and checked them out .
What is in the name Steamed Eggs & Ginger?
Steamed Eggs & Ginger is a swing band formed by swing dancers with the goal of playing swing music for the dance community. Eponymously named after a dessert, the band started when a group of friends gathered for food on 2nd January 2011.
Where it all began at Ah Chew Desserts 阿秋甜品
Some members of the group had recently watched the movie “Swing Girls” and were impressed by how the actresses had managed to learn their instruments from scratch just for the movie. The group toyed with the idea of setting up a band and wondered what they would name the group.
Many random names were suggested and rejected. Just as we were running out of ideas, we turned to the dessert menu on the table. The name “Steamed Eggs & Ginger” (薑汁燉蛋 in chinese) had a nice ring to it and was eventually chosen. Can you imagine how unwieldy it would have been if we had gone with “Grass Jelly with Attap Chee”?
We started out with a capella singing, since we did not own any instruments then. On 19th March 2011, our new band scoured Esplanade library for music scores, which eventually led to our first performance at the JUYL Christmas Party in 2011.
2012 marked a major milestone for the band with the purchase of “Ella” the double bass, “Little Horn” the trumpet and the nameless electronic drum set. “Yamaha san” the Canadian-Japanese keyboard also came out of retirement to join the instruments. With the basic components of a band in place, Steamed Eggs & Ginger was all set to enter a new phase of music-making!
Who are the members of the band ?
We are quite open to people who are interested in playing with the band, so Steamed Eggs & Ginger has gained an extra member or two along the way since we started. Importantly, commitment is what we look for. Recognizing that learning music and playing together well takes time, we need members who are committed.
It is also why we do not have a band leader. It is an egalitarian culture where members are united by the same goals and take ownership of making a good name for the band.
- Piano: Shuquan is the pianist and most well versed in jazz and improvisation.
- Trumpet: Yiheng bought his trumpet “Little Horn” after being inspired by the spontaneous jamming sessions he witnessed at Herräng Dance Camp.
- Double-bass: Boyu chose to pick up the double-bass when he fell in love with the resonating mellow tones of the instrument.
- Singers: Charlotte, Peiyi and Ching Shan. Charlotte and Peiyi both sang for choir and popular Chinese groups in their younger days. Ching Shan has always loved jazz music and she used to play trumpet in a jazz band.
- Tap and music engineer: Wei Chin loves tap dancing and started not too long ago. She was awarded an outstanding student award at Australian Tap Dance Festival 2012.
- Drums: Jing Yang, who picked up drums about half a year ago and plays with a rock band on top of playing with Steamed Eggs & Ginger.
- Drums: Carine , latest addition to the band , she enjoys swing dance and currently learning to play drums.
Tell us a thing or two , about each member
One of the singers has a habit of painting her nails and they always seem to be in different colours and designs. One of her most innovative nail designs features the MinionsTM !
We lost another singer to Sleepless in Seattle. When we can, we send her a care-pack of her favourite food items from home in the hope of her return and rejoining the band.
The double bass player owns 2 Japanese dolls and has pictures of his favourite idol, Mayuyu, from the Japanese Girl Group AKB48 plastered around his room.
During each practice session, the trumpet player folds a little paper box into which he periodically empties the saliva accumulated in his trumpet.
The pianist lives out of backpacks and briefcases when he is not in town to run another rigorous practice session.
The tapper’s tap shoes were named “Tippy” and “Tappy”. We can’t seem to remember which is which.
One of the singers originated from certain Latino dance origins but has since been hooked on Swing.
But the drummer who originated in Swing is turning more and more to other music and dance influences …
All’s good in the exploration of music and dance!
How and where do you find inspiration ?
Group practices are held mostly at the double bass player’s house so that he does not have to carry Ella around. However, we have also used other member’s houses for practices, as long as their neighbours don’t complain! We rent studios for practices when our performance dates draw near.
The biggest challenge is scheduling practices and members prioritizing their own respective commitments. It is a really big achievement that we have so far managed to meet our performance goals. What keeps everyone together is the friendship and love for swing, jazz and Lindy hop.
We are at our beginning stages as a jazz band. We hope that as we become more comfortable with jazz improvisation, the creative juices will start to flow. Some of us take up improvisation classes, attend talks and learn from the music directors, usually at the double bass player’s house.
Of course, listening to the Jazz greats and watching dancers are always a good source of inspiration!
Does it help to be a dancer ( and vice versa ) ?
To quote our drummer, “Playing drums has improved my dancing. My rhythm has improved dramatically”.
And quoting dance teachers in our own community as well as overseas – “If you don’t know your music, you don’t know your dance!”
What does the future hold for Steamed Eggs & Ginger?
Que sera sera , the future’s not ours to see.
We are beginning to fulfill our goal of providing live music to the swing dancers.
So far, we have performed once at the JUYL Christmas Party 2011 , and twice at Jitterbugs Swingapore where we had our inaugural performance in december 2012.
Up next, our first ever full set performance will be taking place on the 9 December 2013 at China One. Swing by !
Thank you very much Steamed Eggs & Ginger, the future holds the best for you.
Follow their facebook page @ https://www.facebook.com/SteamedEggsAndGinger
Do try Steamed Eggs & Ginger -薑汁燉蛋 at a dessert stall near you