We grow up faster than we expect. When we first received the email, our first instinct was, what happened to Electrico?(Our editor use to have a major crush on Dave) Dave Tan, known to a generation of music lovers as the songwriter and front man of Electrico, is now picking up the camera too.
Why? He has embarked on an independent film project to immortalize the legendary Mambo Jambo night at Zouk.
“Mambo Jambo is one of very few iconic phenomenon that is 100% local, and touched a generation of youth. In its history are countless stories to tell and it deserves to be documented in a comprehensive and entertaining way.”
Mambo Jambo was the longest running club night in the world, running weekly consecutively for 21 years. And in the process became cultural phenomenon in Singapore, and a rite of passage for thousands of young Singaporeans.
“I used to go religiously, and saw it evolve over the years. While outsiders might assume it was just a night where people synchronize in dance to retro music, Mambo Jambo embodied much more. Otherwise, it wouldn’t have been the phenomenon it was, and wouldn’t have lasted so many years. There is a really interesting set of stories surrounding this piece of our history, and I want to tell it in this film…”
Making the film has been a dream of Dave’s since 2010, he just recently left his position at MTV Networks to focus on the project fulltime.
“When Zouk leaves its current premises, it will truly be an end of an era. Its imperative that we finish filming in the original location, and it’s an appropriate part of our SG50 celebrations. As such, I’ve taken time off from my other work, to focus on finishing this. Hopefully in time for this year’s Singapore International Film Festival (SGIFF) if not for the next.”
The project has begun to take shape, but still has some significant challenges ahead. One of those challenges is funding. Ironically, SG50 funding for this project was declined and Dave has selffunded the project to date, but is planning a crowdfunding campaign, launching next month, to help cover costs.
“I am fortunate to have great support from Zouk and others who are also passionate about seeing this film get made. I don’t intend to make money on this project, to me, it’s simply a film that needs to be made. But, there are filming and production costs for which I hope those whose lives were touched by Mambo over the years will help to cover.”
Another challenge Dave faces is the need for archive material to help support the film’s editorial journey. The majority of Mambo Jambo’s run predated widespread adoption of smartphone cameras and portable video recorders. While the production team continues to collect stories to tell about that era, they’re uncovering less footage of Mambo nights than they’d like.
Requests Dave, “Given the thousands of people who made Mambo memories over the years, we think there’s a lot more content out there than we’ve found today. We know people are nostalgic about Mambo and we’re asking anyone who has any photos, clippings, flyers, posters, or even video of their old Mambo Jambo experiences, and would be willing to contribute to the success of this iconic documentary, to please contact me through the special Facebook page we’ve set up for this process. The older the material the better!”
Dave and his team are planning a live filming event at Zouk later this year, which will serve as the finale scene to the film and reunite the generations of Mambo Jambo punters, in what Dave hopes, will be the biggest Mambo night ever. Says Dave, “At the end of the day, this is a film to document something truly iconic in Singapore’s pop culture history. An archive that all Singaporeans can share, and future generations can be inspired by.”
If you have photos, video, or stories that you’d like to share, or you’d just like to be kept up to date about filming the events and progress of the project, please visit their website at https://www.facebook.com/mambojambofilm