Grace Notes

MUNSHI AHMED FOR TIME

CREATIVE GENIUS: Ponnudorai deconstructs, reinvents and performs old songs with a singular passion

A man who is quite possibly the greatest musical interpreter of our time performs every weekend at Harry's—an ordinary bar in a Singaporean shopping mall. There, before a half-empty room, while soccer matches are screened and waitresses ferry beer and fries, Paul Ponnudorai sings with astounding virtuosity, accompanied only by his Spanish guitar. His voice swoops and growls with the range and soulfulness of mid-period Stevie Wonder, and his fluid, polyrhythmic style of guitar playing appears to have little precedent. But it is his choice of material, and the inventiveness with which he arranges it, that cloaks Ponnudorai in the aura...

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