Singapore based indie label Umami Records released Quan Bay‘s new single “Miss Saigon” on March 27, 2020. It is from “Stay Like This Forever,” the debut album of the Canadian indie dream pop-R&B duo expected to be released this year.
“Miss Saigon” starts off with cheery melodies, accompanied by playful percussion on the dholak, a traditional Indian folk instrument often used in wedding festivities for children to sing and dance to. This leads into an uplifting dream pop chorus filled with hope and optimism, which sounds strange but it works.
Based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Quan Bay comprises Aniruddha Borah, a singer-songwriter-producer from Assam, India, and Tamara, a Vietnamese singer-songwriter who is a Toronto native. A fusion of the music they both grew up listening to and an expression of navigating the years of one’s mid-20s, “Miss Saigon” tells the story of an immigrant mother and her child in the new world they have taken refuge in, a world that is at once both beautiful and scary.
“My parents were refugees of the Vietnam War,” Tamara shared. “It’s hard to settle into a new country where you don’t speak the language, don’t have any friends and barely (have) a penny to your name. For Miss Saigon, while the skies are clear and her child’s dreams are lovely, there are also real things to deal with like struggling with money and never seeing your kid because you’re working all the time.”
Borah and Tamara write and produce their own music, delivering a unique blend of dream pop and alternative R&B, often combined with classical elements from their Indian and Vietnamese roots. They are also composers for film and recently won Best Music Director at the Sailadhar Baruah Memorial Film Awards 2019 for their work on “Aamis,” the acclaimed Assamese film directed by Bhaskar Hazarika.
“The experiences, sacrifices, and learnings passed on from our parents helped bring this song together,” Borah said. “As you listen, we hope that you sympathize that all around the world, people are changing constantly in search of a better life which is both beautiful and super scary at the same time.”
Borah and Tamara have also scored “Dau Huduni Methai” (Song of the Horned Owl), which won the Best Feature Film in Bodo at the 63rd National Film Awards and “In the Land of Poison Women,” the Best Feature Film in Pangchenpa at the 66th National Film Awards in India. Follow the Quan Bay duo on QuanBay.info, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.
Founded in 2013, Umami Records strongly believes in discovering new, interesting sounds that run underground and away from the mainstream much like the fifth taste reputation of its namesake. The label’s tight-knit, curated roster thus far has included releases from Linying (Spotify Spotlight 2016), The Steve McQueens, brb., Evanturetime (Spotify Early Noise 2017), CampFire, Martin Baltser of Denmark, Phoria of the United Kingdom and Oriental Cravings of Australia, among others.