25 Sep 2008
Story by: N RAMA
have taken listeners back to
the glory days of the crooners
... and will continue to do so
Musicians hold their beliefs very close to their hearts and while some do
what they do
to please themselves, others do it purely for the enjoyment of their
The Rozells belongs to the latter camp, a philosophy bandleader/guitarist
Rozells has no qualms revealing. “We play and sing what the audience
right hand man in this duo is in fact a woman, Kathleen Rodrigues,
songstress once deemed the Shirley Temple of Malaysia, who like Rozells,
fact, Penang has been a hotbed for some of the
nation’s best talents, going all the way back to Tan Sri P. Ramlee, Jimmy
Eow Jin and later, the ever-loved Alleycats.
perhaps not well known to contemporary audiences, The Rozells have
reputation for having
back as the
1930s and 1940s. It’s not unusual to hear the duo belt out gems from the
Loretta Lynn, Patsy Cline, Johnny Cash, Nat King Cole, Dean Martin, Perry
Matt Monro and Connie Francis.
Collectively, The Rozells have a staggering
repertoire of 1,000 songs.
“A lady once told us that we had performed a song her husband had
written ... just after
we performed the classic Fly Me To The Moon. It turns out that she
was the widow of
Henry Mancini (who also wrote the Pink Panther theme),” Rodrigues
are doing something we like, and it’s not motivated by money. You
could say that
we are in the nostalgia business. When we do the old songs, we get the
reminisce on good times gone by,” Rozells says.
Rozells took its love for oldies and turned it into a career
sometime in the early
1990s, running a pub under the name in Tanjung Bungah, Penang, for nearly
until recently.“The pub functioned almost like a time machine for some
which they could just listen to songsof their time,” enthuses Rozells.
were basically regulars and we remember all their names and we made many
friends along the way,” adds Rodrigues with a warm smile.
good bands then ... it was all very competitive. Of course, we had
but we’re all very good friends now. We’ve learned from our peers and I
hope that’s a
philosophy the younger generation will adopt as well,” Rozells offers. The
a great admiration for its contemporaries, too. “As a guitarist, I’ve
John Lim ... a great jazz guitarist. I feel the same way about Larry
fantastic jazz guitarist,” Rozells reveals. “I like Salamia Hassan’s voice
and style very
much ... likewise (fellow Penang songstress) Shirley Barnabas. I suppose
have that class. Younger singers nowadays simply copy the Western acts ...
have the same voice. It’s probably because they never went through the
mill like we
did during our time,” shares Rodrigues.
While music performance has moulded The Rozells’ career, the pinnacle of
success lies elsewhere. “Starting the pub was the most significant moment
because we built it out of our own finances. We performed there every
night for two
years after the pub opened. We were able to put our money where our mouth
pull a crowd every night,” Rozells says.
hope for when
played honestly and with passion. “All we hope for is to be part
of something that
could benefit the future of the kind of music we play. We hope we can
inspiration for the younger generation of music artistes,” Rozells says on