DB: First things first, can you introduce yourselves and tell us a bit about your role in the band?
The band is Sandra Leung Waters and Debbie Mannas on vocals, Bhoyet Samonte on Keys, Satur Tiamson on drums and Francisco Llorin on bass. Sandra is a triple threat, with television & musical theatre roots, who has opened for Elton John; while Debbie is a poet and songwriter with a solo album under her belt, Deborah-Inspired, and every influence from Choral to Rock. Bhoyet, Satur and “Kiko” are also accomplished musicians who’ve played in orchestras & on stages across the world.
We love our amazing team Syzygy! Our two very different vocals and broad ranges blend perfectly and sit on a foundation of the jazz trio – piano, bass and drums. What this means is that we can take any song, interpret the music with a jazz twist and interweave harmonies for a unique sound. In astronomy, Syzygy is the alignment of three celestial bodies. In music, we say that SYZYGY refers to that magical moment when we blend the band, our music and our audience. Every member of the band has a part in making this magic.
DB: Who are your greatest musical influences?
We are jazz babies at heart. We love music that has a melodic journey throughout the song with relatable lyrics and interesting rhythms. We grew up listening to jazz greats from the 30’s and 40’s. That music is timeless, but for younger generations who aren’t so familiar with jazz, we make it accessible by taking iconic pop songs and re-styling it, jazz-wise. Artistes who can make their music melodic, meaningful and mellifluous inspires us.
DB: In your own view, what makes Syzygy unique in the Hong Kong music scene?
Hong Kong audiences want an emotional connection to their music so they can de-stress from their busy lives. Our music allows us creativity while also giving our audience that connection, that “aha” moment when they realise they know the song! We’ve had a lot of people come up to us and tell us how much they love the sound, and what they felt when the penny dropped! We’ve even had song suggestions from our fans, some of which we’ve used for next shows. There’s no band in Hong Kong who does exactly what we do. Our inspiration came from a trip to the South of France – sipping a favourite cocktail on the French Riviera by the azure sea, and we wanted our music to transport our audiences like that – relaxing to familiar songs but with a sophisticated jazz twist.
DB: In your opinion, what are the key ingredients for a successful show?
The comments we receive from our clients and fans are that we are an unusual paradox, creative artistes who are professional, organised and committed, and that we listen and deliver; our maturity and experience is reflected in our performances and interaction with our fans. If the setting is intimate, we circulate and meet our audience. We usually start the show wearing our flowing signature capes with the boys in matching ties, and have never had a wardrobe malfunction!
DB: What has been the highlight of your journey with Syzygy so far?
The music!! Trying out new songs and watching them come alive with jazz chords, rhythms and harmonies blending on stage. We have some favourites and it’s exciting to try and replicate those results with other songs. The thrill of performing live is being agile with whatever comes at you. An audience would never know it, but our team dynamics are astute. A quick glance can move all of us to the bar 37 repeat back into the bridge of a song. We are all good listeners, and if we ever have technical malfunctions on stage, we can still listen to each other and ensure our sound is balanced.
We’ve been fortunate to play at most of Asia’s most luxurious event venues from huge ballroom stages to intimate jazz venues. Maybe a couple of highlights was on an outdoor stage overlooking the beautiful Hong Kong harbour where we got to wear sunglasses (not only for style, but a necessity in the brilliant sun!). Another highlight was a black-tie function at the Convention and Exhibition Centre playing to a room full of beautiful people, a rainbow of sequinned ballgowns and fabulous hair.
DB: Finally, where can our readers listen to/watch you play?
Follow us on Facebook @SyzygyHongKong and we’ll keep you up to date with our public performances. We are in demand for private and corporate functions, so if you want sophisticated music for your next event please email us personally at [email protected] – we’d love to hear from you!