Mambo Jambo Memories
Local musician screens film to commemorate iconic Zouk theme night
Like for every other Mambo Jambo regular, Zouk's iconic retro-theme club night on Wednesdays holds a special place in Dave Tan's heart.
The frontman of local band Electrico was no stranger to Mambo Jambo before its weekly run ended after 20 years in 2012. It has been held occasionally since then.
From the trademark dance moves and vibrant communal spirit to songs such as Village People's YMCA and Rick Astley's Never Going To Give You Up, Tan witnessed how Mambo Jambo slowly became ingrained in Singapore culture.
The 41-year-old captured the zeitgeist in his debut documentary Blame It On The Boogie, which was privately screened at The Projector yesterday.
The screening coincided with the last Mambo Jambo night at Zouk's current premises in Jiak Kim Street. Zouk will be relocating to Clarke Quay.
Tan, a freelancer in the production industry, spent seven years putting the film together, shelving plans year after year to reunite with his bandmates to record a new album.
"We have something special, something born in Singapore that we can claim a stake in. If nobody documents this, future generations will never know that such a crazy phenomenon existed. I wanted to tell that story," said Tan.
He launched a crowdfunding campaign last year, raising just under $30,000, which was less than half of his $75,000 target.
The project was predominantly a one-man endeavour, with some help from a friend.
The last seven months of the project were spent editing the film for at least 12 hours daily.
Calling it a "monumental challenge", Tan said he faced various hurdles.
They included the gathering of footage from a time when "selfie culture" and social media use were not widespread.
Limited funding also meant that the film cannot yet be commercially released.
Many key Mambo Jambo regulars are featured in Blame It On The Boogie, all with personal anecdotes to share.
Among them are local celebrities Najip Ali and Hossan Leong, and Mambo Jambo founder and DJ Adam Low .
Tan said: "Mambo King Gerald Wee was so passionate about Mambo Jambo that he decided to propose to his wife on the podium.
"Mambo Jambo touched people in ways no other club nights could. I have met generations of Mambo regulars aged between 19 and 62."
Now that he has seen his film come to life, Tan admitted he has been "bitten by the filming bug".
"I would definitely love to explore the option of making another film, whether fiction or a documentary like this.
"I am happy to have documented the real stories of real people in this film, so a next film is something I definitely want to pursue."