Malay Mail Showbiz


17 AUG 2014 Story By: OPALYN MAK
The Malay Mail 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 !!

10 Things About The ROZELLS
And The Songs
That Take Us Right Back

  GEORGE TOWN, Aug 17 — Among music lovers in Penang — especially those who
  favour Country and Western songs — The Rozells are almost a household name.
  After all, the singing sensation of James Rozells and Kathleen Rodrigues known 
  simply as The Rozells — have been performing for more than 30 years in Penang.
Prior to teaming up, they were both already active on the music scene for many years 
  with Kathleen following in the footsteps of her highly-talented father, Larry
  Rodrigues, at the tender age of seve
  Kathleen was known as “Penang’s child singer” when she began performing at talent
  shows alongside her father before she finally partnered with another talented
  Eurasian singer, Joe Rozells, at the age of 18. It was in the 1980s that Kathleen and 
  James teamed up and made a name for themselves with their nostalgic songs.
  Their pub - The Rozells Country and Western and Oldies Pub was a popular
  watering hole between 2000 and 2007, and the duo are now semi-retired but
  occasionally still perform at private events.
  James has taken it upon himself to preserve and cultivate interest in Eurasian bands, 
  culture and food by mooting the Eurasian Fiesta in 2012 and now, it has become an
  annual event in conjunction with the month-long George Town Festival.
  Here, James and Kathleen talk about their career as entertainers and as The Rozells.
  In their own words:
  James: I started singing because when I was a young boy, I was a rebel. My father 
  said, “You are going to be an engineer” but I was interested in music. It was a
  rebellious thing. If he had said “You are going to be a musician”, maybe I would have
  become an engineer. Actually, everybody loves music. I started getting interested in
  playing the guitar. During our time, our parents never encouraged this. They look at
  music as something we beh tan chiak (Hokkien to mean it’s a profession that doesn’t
  earn a living). They want their children to be engineers, doctors. You see my own two
  children, my daughter and son, I never encouraged them to go into music either. My
  daughter is now a relatively big name in KL. My son also started playing guitar and is 
  a musician.
  Kathleen: If we are not talking about professionally, I started at seven years old. Then
  of course, when I was 18, when I can be a professional singer, I was singing at this
  Shanghai restaurant in Rangoon Road with Joe Rozells.
  James: Kathleen’s first appearance was in 1954 as a seven year old, long before I
  started. We only teamed up in the 1980s. She’s been singing for a very long time. The
  two of us, we started as a duet in 1997 but before that we used to play in four-piece
  band, five-piece band in the 1980s and 1990s. Even the keyboardist for Alleycats was
  with us. Basically, our association not as a duet has been since 1988. Then in 1995, we
  decided to just do a duet. To a certain extent, The Rozells started in 1995. That’s what
  we’ve been doing as a duet since 1995. Prior to that we used to perform together in
  Kathleen: My dad was a guitarist with Jimmy Boyle. He encouraged me. I started with
  playing the ukelele at seven. Whenever there was a talentime show, I went up as the
  guest artist, I’d sing while my dad played the guitar. Those days, I was known as
  Penang’s child singer.
  James: We were running a pub for seven years in Tanjung Bungah and then in Mount
  Pleasure. Why did we open up this pub… there was always a big market for old songs.
  When we used to work for hotels, we had to play everything from pop, to modern to
  rock to Chinese, because we had to cater to the masses, to everybody, but then we
  found that there is always this big following of people who wanted old songs. We have
  talked to hotels to have a lounge for old songs but they don’t listen so we decided to
  open our own pub to specifically play oldies, Countries and Western songs.
  Kathleen: We named the pub after The Rozells, that’s why people started coming in
  and that’s how the pub boosted up the name of the band.
  James: Up till today, in our shows that we do all over the country or at private
  functions, our singing has a story behind it. A song is a song, you can always listen to
  a CD. But for us, we pick and choose our songs for people. The whole idea of our
  whole show all the time has been nostalgia. We want to bring people back down
  memory lane through our music. Like sometimes, when customers come, they’d tell
  me “I’ve not heard this song for 30 years” or “you know, my husband used to sing this
  song to me in 1955 when he was courting me.” So, you see, for us that song
  connected to them, to a memory. It’s not about coming to a pub to listen to a song. If
  you just want to listen to a song, just listen to a CD. So basically at the end of the day,
  our story is still nostalgia, we bring people back down memory lane through our
  music. So it’s that joy there.
  James: So, for us, it’s not just playing music, how much you’re paying us one night, we
  take the money and go home. One of our secrets all through these years, we 
  remember people’s names. We’d greet them, like “Good evening, Mr Tan”, and then
  all of the sudden, we’d play his song. In our music, it has always been kind of a
  personal thing. This is some of our little trade secrets. We try to specialise in this.
  Kathleen: We mingle and mix with them a lot, that’s how we gave the personal touch.
  We had a lot of good feedback from the foreigners. They were so impressed. When
  they went back, they’d tell their friends to come to this quaint little pub. They didn’t
  think that we Malaysians could do this kind of quality Country and Western music.
  James: Now, for us, music has changed so much. Still, I’m confident about the young 
  people. I look at my son play the guitar. He’s so much better than me. Where did he
  learn it? He learnt from the Internet. I never sent him for guitar lessons because I
  didn’t encourage him. So he learned from the Internet. The young people are so
  talented now and with new modern technology, they can do very well. I see a very
  bright future for our young musicians now. If they are very good, they will be able to
  make it a career, like what we did.

  See more at: http://www.themalaymailonline.com/showbiz/article/10-things-about-the  
Copyright © 2005        www.rozells.com.my        All rights reserved        Design by: RozellsWebDesigns