Building a New Infrastructure of Research, Documentation and Archival of Jazz in Singapore



Singapore Jazz Research Project (SJRP) is a dedicated collection of studies consisted of 3 segments;  Ecosystem/Industry, Statics and History – all under the subject of Jazz in Singapore by Singapore based not-for-profit arts organisation We Love Jazz (Singapore) Limited. (WLJ SG).

According to the preliminary research completed by 2 of WLJ SG’s directors Aya Sekine (MA Arts & Cultural Management, LASALLE College of The Arts 2017) and Yuepeng Zheng (University Honours Degree in History, Amherst College Boston Massachusetts), there is a major lack of research(es) and archives in the field of jazz in Singapore.

Lack of Documentation of jazz & improvised music of Singapore

Professor Bernard Tan Tiong Gie, a NUS Professor of Physics, has stated: “The documentation of the history of performing arts, and particularly of music, in Singapore is a task that remains largely unfulfilled.“ in the foreword section of Singapore Soundscape Musical renaissance of a Global City edited by Jun Zubillaga-Pow and Chee-Kong Ho. The documentation of the history of performing arts aside, there is only a handful of formal research done in the field of jazz in Singapore. Professor Tan later in the same forward concluded by making a remark that this particular book is “extremely valuable and scholarly contribution to a better understanding of how all of our various musical cultures and genres have developed and become interwoven to form the complex fabric of our musical life and consciousness today.”.

Research Purposes (research goals)

The organisation believes in order for our small yet enthusiastic jazz community in Singapore to thrive and improve, building a new culture of research & archival is critical at this stage. The collection of study is not only aimed to identify the ecosystem and industry structure, to acquire in-depth knowledge about our own jazz history which will give stronger sense of identity to the community while adding prominence to Singapore’s own arts cultural legacy.  

Research Objective (actions)

The research project breaks down to 3 main categories:

SEG I –  Ecosystem / industry database
SEG II – Statistics (survey)
SEG III – History and archival

The specific objectives of the study is tightly linked to the identification of the jazz ecosystem in Singapore. 

Research Team

The team is led by Aya Sekine (director WLJ SG, MA Arts & Cultural Management 2017) who has completed her Master’s Thesis The Jazz System : The Mechanism of What Makes Jazz Possible In Singapore which included studies of jazz community and results from Singapore’s first jazz community survey, while Yuepeng Zheng was trained as a historian and is an expert on the history of jazz in Singapore. His in-depth study of Singapore jazz from the 1920s to the 1980s, Swingin’ Round the World: Musical Circuits, Traveling Musicians and Jazz in Singapore is a pioneering work and critical reading for researchers and persons interested in the topic. The team also welcomes Sinclair Ang, an authentic jazz dance specialist who has been working on public education of dance and music forms. His Singapore jazz history project commissioned by Esplanade has been a popular one among the public.  

Chief researcher : Aya Sekine
Historical researcher / research advisor : Zheng Yuepeng
Co-Researcher : Sinclair Ang
Research assistants & interns  : TBC

Contact us :

Research inquiry : aya[at]
Donation & Giving : dawn[at]
General inquiry : info[at]