Monday, March 1

We Are The Ones – fusing cultures, celebrating diversity

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Songstress Lee jumps with the children who were featured in the music video.

KUCHING: ‘We Are The Ones’ – the theme song of Asean Cultural Week 2018 – made its debut yesterday during the launch of the 13th China Beijing International Cultural & Creative Industry Expo.

The expo kicked off in Beijing, China yesterday and runs till Oct 28.

‘We Are The Ones’ is produced by Sarawak’s own Alvin Wee, and composed and sung by fellow Malaysians Rendra Zawawi and Jeryl Lee Pei Ling, respectively.

Malaysian duo Wee and Rendra (right) have been making waves in the international music scene.

Written by Singaporean I-Ling Chia and mastered by Filipino mastering engineer Jett Galindo, it has been in the works since September, and is truly an amalgamation of musical talents from across the Asean region.

Wee and Rendra are a rising duo who have previously worked on Zee Avi’s ‘Arena Cahaya’, which won the Original Film Song award for the movie ‘Ola Bola’ at the 53rd Golden Horse Film Awards, as well as ‘Together We Rise’, which was sung live in front of millions of viewers during the closing ceremony of the 2017 SEA Games.

The music video for ‘We Are The Ones’ was shot recently at the Palace Museum in the Forbidden City and Zhongshan Park by renowned Malaysian filmmaker Alwyn Tay of Asa Esa Films, making the theme song a full Malaysian and Asean production.

It is worth noting that the filming at the Palace Museum was the first since the Beijing Olympics theme song back in 2008.

In line with Asean Cultural Week 2018’s theme ‘Fusing Cultures, Celebrating Diversity’, the song aims to galvanise the Asean region in being united by fusing our unique cultures together.

The song draws inspiration from local spices – the binding ingredients in exotic and contemporary cuisine in the region since the spice trade began.

Similar to how people are brought together by food using a blend of unique spices, the song was sung together with children of Asean nation embassies in Beijing, as well as the children from China who took part in the Asean-China Youth Camp here in July this year.

Speaking to The Borneo Post on the diverse musical collaboration, Wee detailed that the experience had been a rather surreal one – new, yet somewhat familiar at the same time

“Working with different countries is extremely thrilling because you never know what you’re going to get. The fact that this song was literally created across multiple time zones made the song even more special to me. It has been a whole new experience to learn from and fuse the collective consciousness of everyone involved into a piece of music!

“It seems so surreal to see something you co-created being put into the background of something so historic. Just knowing that the whole project came together around the world, there’s a romantic sense to having it being summed up in the backdrop of such a monumental landmark.

“Having visited the Forbidden City once and knowing the scale of it, it just made me feel like Ren (Rendra Zawawi) and I had to come up with a musical piece to convey the immense breadth and size of the city,” he said.

Hosted by the embassies of the 10 Asean member nations of Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, together with the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade Beijing sub-council (CCPIT), the 2nd Asean Cultural Week 2018 is aimed at strengthening China-Asean partnership through people-to-people exchanges as well as enhancing cultural cooperation and trade through China’s Belt and Road Initiatives.

It is an extension of the 13th China Beijing International Cultural & Creative Industry Expo (ICCIE) hosted by the Ministry of Culture, China; State General Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television of People’s Republic of China; and the People’s Government of Beijing Municipality.