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Old 26th July 2012, 03:50 PM   #1 (permalink)
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No more Mambo night

Every Wednesday night for two decades, a unique ritual has endured at one of Singapore's most-treasured nightclubs, Zouk.

A themed night featuring retro music Mambo Jambo — simply known as 'Mambo nights' to many — has brought together dedicated locals and mesmerized foreigners, who observe comical dance moves coordinated to lyrics of 80s hits. Those well-versed in precise hand movements to songs like Belinda Carlisle's 'Summer Rain' take to center stage on raised podiums, in a phenomenon that many have labeled as unique to the city-state, akin to its "Singlish" dialect and chili crab.

But last week, Zouk bid farewell to its last Mambo Jambo night, as it rebrands its Wednesday night partying staple. Wednesday nights at Zouk will now be called TGIW — Thank God it's Wednesday — and retro music will be moved away from the nightclub's main hall into its smaller room, Phuture.

Zouk's move to rebrand their staple Wednesday night entertainment offerings comes as celebrity clubs and glamorous bars, bent on attracting well-heeled A-listers, fill the city-state. Singapore, mocked for a non-existent, bland nightlife scene when Zouk first opened its doors in the 80s, now markets itself as one of the most vibrant cities in the region — if not the world — selling its thumping clubs and unique cocktail bars as a reason for tourists to visit.

The new Wednesday night, TGIW — also Mambo Jambo's original name till 1992 — will launch this week on July 25, featuring a mix of hip-hop and electro music, and current pop and dance hits.
"We feel we have gone full circle, and the new TGIW will capture the spirit of midweek partying and shake up our local Wednesday entertainment scene," said Sofie Chandra, Zouk's marketing and business development manager, adding that the club always strives to stay "relevant and cutting edge".
Zouk is one of the few clubs in Singapore that has endured for more than a decade, as is ranked 5th in DJ Magazine's list of the world's top 100 clubs, above London's Ministry of Sound.
Mambo nights at Zouk, Ms. Chandra says, was losing its popularity as many of the "younger generation of clubbers" can no longer relate to 80s music. Certain staple songs, like the Village People's 'YMCA' and Rick Astley's 'Never Going to Give You Up' are played nightly, complete with hand-actions.

But for some diehard fans of the night — several of whom are a staple on Zouk's raised podium, having memorized synchronized dance moves for years now — the ending of Mambo Jambo is akin to the end of an era. Fans took to social media forums like Twitter expressing their disbelief of how "things will never be the same", others going so far as to say they were "devastated" over the loss.

"Final Mambo… Hope I don't tear later," said one user, @clementchio.

For others, however, Zouk's rebranding was hardly surprising given dwindling numbers attending the Wednesday event over the years. Other bars and clubs have become more competitive with their "ladies night" offerings — where women in the city-state get privileged rates for alcohol and club entry.

Patrons of Zouk can also expect the smaller room where retro music will still be played, Phuture, to look different when it launches this Wednesday, after a refurbishment that cost more than a million dollars.

"Mambo Jambo says a dignified goodbye to the Zouk main room," said a tweet from the official Zouk Twitter page, @zouksingapore. "We'll be together in electric dreams!"

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