Despite opening its doors to the public since November 2016, Penang House of Music (PHoM) is still relatively a hidden gem, at least among my circle of friends. It doesn’t help that the establishment is situated inside KOMTAR and only reachable through ICT Mall on the 3rd floor, and from there, accessible via an escalator to the 4th floor where PHoM is housed.
Also known as Rumah Muzik Pulau Pinang, PHoM is a treasure trove for all music lovers and those who wish to immerse themselves in the island state’s rich and diverse music traditions and culture.
As you can already imagine, PHoM is dedicated to the music and musicians of Penang, and celebrates its colourful musical heritage through inspiring stories, sights and sounds of traditional music and art forms of the local communities.
Visitors to PHoM are taken on a trip down memory lane to get to know Penang’s best known musicians from the 1940s right up to the 1970s, including P. Ramlee, who was born in the Pearl of the Orient (b. 1929 – d. 1973). As they enjoy a selection of popular music in Penang, they also learn about the evolution of music, including the rise of Western pop culture.
The heartbeat of PHoM is its huge resource centre that houses a growing collection of audio, print and recorded documents. Anyone who wishes to look up information related to Penang music and musicians should find it at this premier music database, be it music, video, photograph, book, magazine, press clipping or in other forms.
As we travel through Penang’s unique musical history, being exposed to diverse sounds of yesteryears, and learn about a brief history of audio formats, one of the highlights of Penang House of Music, in my opinion, is the Radio Room. It tells the story of Penang’s radio back in the day, when the only form of entertainment for most households was tuning in to the airwaves. Radio Room provides the opportunity for music enthusiasts to be a radio announcer by presenting songs live on air. They can download the recording and take it home as a cherished memento.
Movie goers delightedly welcome the experience of watching a movie in a cinema back in the old days in the Cinema Room. One would be able to see how much the movie industry has evolved over the past decades.
From checking out the variety of musical instruments to lepaking at the Kopitiam corner, Penang House of Music is indeed more than just music. It is also an event venue with a dedicated performance space for music and art-related activities, at Black Box that boasts a capacity for 100 pax.
By the way, how about trying your hand at being a puppeteer at the digital PoTeHi Theatre? Utilise today’s technology, listen to tunes in the Listening Chair and Listening Dome, as well as watch a virtual reality performance, that combines the music of the past. If music is your passion, you should allocate at least a few hours at PHoM to explore its every nook and cranny.
RM20 – Adults
RM10 – Children (12 years and below), Students with valid ID, Senior citizens
Free – Children below 5 years
RM30 – Adults
RM15 – Children (12 years and below), Students (with valid ID), Senior citizens
Open daily: 11am – 8pm (last admission: 7pm)
Penang House of Music (PHoM)
Add: L4-92, Level 4 KOMTAR, Jalan Penang, 10000 Penang.
Tel: +604-370 6675
Facebook & Instagram: @penanghouseofmusic
Video: Penang House of Music (PHoM)