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TELL US ABOUT RICK
Im originally from South Africa and lived there till I was 17. I moved over as a dental technician to London and worked there for 2 years but was always involved in the music industry. I’ve done a lot of events before I went to London. I started Dj-ing at a young age. In London the scene was very ripe. There were a lot of parties, events, clubs and it was a natural progression to go from a dental technician to music. Although I’ve also worked in a bank as a Senior Business Manager, music was always my passion so I started doing events through my own company, ran some bars and Dj-ed at a lot of places. To leave all of that behind to come to Yangon was a big change but I also saw the opportunities of what it can be.

WHAT IS IT ABOUT YANGON THAT DRAWS YOU HERE
I am married in London to a Burmese lady. The first time I visited was in April this year and I just fell in love instantly. We made a decision to move back and 3 months later, we were here. Just riding in a cab I saw maybe 20 opportunities which I know could potentially work with the culture and the people. How beautiful the country is – it made my decision.

WHAT DRIVES YOU
Music, travelling, food.100% music. I can’t go a day without music. I have to somehow be involved in some kind of music. And people. I love people.

HOW ARE THE MYANMAR PEOPLE DIFFERENT
I think, and I mean this in the best possible way – Myanmar is about five to six years behind. And that’s what I like about it. I like to speak to someone and they teach me something that I have not seen for ages or when they speak about music and I show them some new music and they go, “ How do you dance to this?” or “What kind of music is this?” Everything about the Myanmar people. The best service in the world is in Myanmar. And that’s in a normal restaurant. I love the people.

BEST PARTY YOU’VE EVER BEEN TO
Ooo…It was a secret event in a very dingy warehouse. There was basic lighting and some bar setup. You wait a long time for the beer but no one cared because the sound system was amazing. I think they spent all their money on the sound system and were left with nothing else but it was so good. There were maybe five hundred people. When you walked out you pretty much knew all five hundred. That was in London, a place called Rhythm Factory about two and half years ago.

BEST PARTY YOU CAN THROW HERE IN YANGON
The festival we’re organising in March is going to be pretty much up there. It’s something special and new for the people.We’ve not had one bad comment about our Rehab parties. So I think Rehab is just gonna take off.

WHAT IS THE CHANGE THAT YOU WANT TO SEE NOW THAT YOU ARE HERE AND IN A POSITION TO BE ABLE TO MAKE A CHANGE
My whole aim with Flamingo Bar is to educate people through music. We play music that people want to listen to but at the same time we also play music that we love and we know work well in other places. We educate slowly by introducing new sound, new music. I think that will take time. I’m gonna be honest with you. We’ve had locals who ask us to play this song or that song. Or they say oh we don’t know this song. Next time they come back, they know the song and they dance to it, hands in the air. It’s a complete change. On our Flamingo Page we post a Song of the Day and explain a little bit about how it’s made, what we’re doing with it and how to listen to it.
We’ve also just started a Flamingo Bar DJ Academy this month. I will be teaching too. We’re doingit properly with certificates. We will teach them about the historyof music, how dance music evolves into what it is now and teach them how to Dj. Give them an opportunity to show their skills in a venue like this and with other venues.

IF YOU CAN HAVE ANYONE, DEAD OR ALIVE TO YOUR PARTY, WHO WOULD IT BE
I would say Michael Jackson and Marilyn Monroe. I want to put a vent in and recreate the whole scene where she’s standing on top of the vent. She’s a bit of a party animal so we can have them both on the floor.

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Leena Salim
Leena Salim comes from the overcrowded city island of Singapore. She has traveled to and lived in many other overcrowded cities around the world through her work as a singer, actor, emcee and now, a writer. She now resides in yet another overcrowded city that is Yangon with her imaginary cat, Miss Muffinface.

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