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The Art of Now: Karaoke Rage

Comedian and music obsessive Gabriel Ebulue investigates a karaoke curse in the Philippines, where performances of Frank Sinatra’s My Way have been linked to multiple murders.

Comedian and music obsessive Gabriel Ebulue investigates a deadly karaoke curse in the Philippines concerning Frank Sinatra’s classic My Way.

In recent years, performances of the song in karaoke bars and videoke joints have reportedly caused outbreaks of violence and the murders of multiple people. Local newspapers have dubbed these fatal disputes The My Way Killings, prompting a ban on the song in certain areas.

Is it possible that a song can be cursed and deadly? Why does music evoke such rage and passion? How did karaoke become the national pastime in the Philippines? And why, fifty years after it was written, is My Way still a favourite for powerful world leaders such as Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump?

Gabriel travels to Manila, karaoke capital of the world, as he answers these questions and peeks behind the (final) curtain of karaoke culture.

Contributors incude:
Mama Ai, broadcaster
Paul Anka, singer and songwriter
AJ Lambert, singer and musician
Ted Lerner, travel writer
Red Tani, activist with the Filipino Freethinkers
Professor Roland Tolentino, pop culture academic
Professor Graham Welch, music academic

Produced by Jack Howson
A Boom Shakalaka production for BBC Radio 4

Release date:

29 minutes

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