Relive The Good Ol' Days


                25 Sep 2008              Story by: N RAMA LOHAN

The Star Feature Write-Up On "The ROZELLS"  -  Kathleen Rodrigues and James Rozells                          Penang Eurasian Musicians                         The Star  -  25 Sep 2008      -      Relive The Good Ol' Days With The ROZELLS !!


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 audience.
 The Rozells belongs to the latter camp, a philosophy bandleader/guitarist James
 Rozells has no qualms revealing. “We play and sing what the audience wants,”   
 Rozells concedes.
 His right hand man in this duo is in fact a woman, Kathleen Rodrigues, a renowned 
 songstress once deemed the Shirley Temple of Malaysia, who like Rozells,
comes from
Eurasian community in Penang. In 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 Boyle, Ooi
 Eow Jin and later, the ever-loved Alleycats.

 While perhaps not well known to contemporary audiences, The Rozells have earned a 
 reputation for having
an amazing repertoire of songs that date to as far back as the
 1930s and 1940s. It’s not unusual to hear the duo belt out gems from the likes of
 Loretta Lynn, Patsy Cline, Johnny Cash, Nat King Cole, Dean Martin, Perry Como,
 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 shares proudly.

“We 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 audience to
 reminisce on good times gone by,” Rozells says.

 The 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 six years,
 until recently.“The pub functioned almost like a time machine for some patrons in
 which they could just listen to songsof their time,” enthuses Rozells. “Our patrons
 were basically regulars and we remember all their names and we made many good
 friends along the way,” adds Rodrigues with a warm smile.

 When The Rozells were formed, the Penang music scene was a hotbed of talent. “There
a lot of good bands then ... it was all very competitive. Of course, we had rivals,
 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 Rozells has
 a great admiration for its contemporaries, too. “As a guitarist, I’ve always admired
 John Lim ... a great jazz guitarist. I feel the same way about Larry Rodrigues, another
 fantastic jazz guitarist,” Rozells reveals. “I like Salamia Hassan’s voice and style very
 much ... likewise (fellow Penang songstress) Shirley Barnabas. I suppose they just
 have that class. Younger singers nowadays simply copy the Western acts ... they all
 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 the duo’s
 success lies elsewhere. “Starting the pub was the most significant moment for us
 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 was and
 pull a crowd every night,” Rozells says.

 The Rozells has one simple hope for when it is no more: to be remembered as an act
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 provide
 inspiration for the younger generation of music artistes,” Rozells says on a parting
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