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Apr 12

Taiwanese Pop Music

Written by: Steve | Filed under:culture, General, music, video | Tags:, , , , ,
58 Comments » newest 2013-07-18 14:57:28

In the past, I’ve written posts about indie music in China, Taiwan and other Asian countries but I haven’t spent much time on pop music since it isn’t really my thing. But I feel it is time to include what is most popular in these countries and I’ll start off with Taiwan. What inspired me to do this? Well, I recently discovered that my brother-in-law’s wife’s cousin (Wen Shang Yi 溫尚翊 also known as Monster) is the lead guitarist and leader of a band called Mayday 五月天 that is quite popular in Taiwan. So as a loyal brother-in-law, I needed an excuse to feature them!

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Apr 10

minipost-Shanghai’s Singing Chicken Lady

Written by: Steve | Filed under:-mini-posts, culture, music, video | Tags:, ,
1 Comment » newest 2010-05-12 03:28:58

In a Shanghai market, this lady selling chicken said, “If you buy more, I will sing a song for you” and launched into “Amazing Grace”. She’s from a rural village in Anhui province and doesn’t speak or read English. After she finished the song she said, “As long as everybody is happy.” (I hope this translation is correct. If not, please let me know)

Apologies for the cheesy Susan Boyle comparison in the video and the introduction of the song by a western singer before she launches into it. What impressed me the most about this lady was her great attitude.

Apr 10

minipost-[Translation] Greed Destroyed Bob Dylan’s Concert

Written by: Charles Liu | Filed under:-mini-posts, General, music, News | Tags:, , ,
24 Comments » newest 2011-05-14 05:13:38

Recently there were some news about cancelation of Bob Dylan’s concerts in China. Not surprisingly following the usual Western media narrative the dominate theme was the Chinese government had banned Bob Dylan because of censorship, Tibet, the usual.

However, the Chinese netters have been circulating a different story that appeared February this year (UPDATE: also covered by China Music Update in March). According to a music industry insider, Sun Mengjin, cancelation of Dylan’s China concerts had to do with the steep mark up by original concert rights holder (Brokers Brothers) rendering the concert not financially viable for local promoters, and out-of-control greediness in Chinese concert promotion industry:
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Apr 09

minipost-Taiwan’s Version of Whitney Houston

Written by: Steve | Filed under:-mini-posts, culture, media, music, video | Tags:, , , ,
20 Comments » newest 2010-04-25 04:43:58

Lin Yu Chun is a contestant on Taiwan’s version of American Idol called Super Star Avenue. He’s quite young, a bit chubby with a bowl haircut, not the most likely candidate for stardom. But he does a dead on impersonation of Whitney Houston and has gone viral on You Tube with over 2 million…  5 million hits.

Jan 19

Chinese culture is rich and amazing. Did you know that the main melody at the 2008 Beijing Olympics medal ceremonies were composed using only musical instruments that were made 2,450 years ago? That melody was a version of “茉莉花” or “Jasmine Flower.” It was adapted by famous Chinese composer Tan Dun and Wang Hesheng (of the Chinese Army orchestra) using the ancient instruments for the 2008 Olympics medal ceremonies. According to this China Daily article, “Classical piece will ring in ears of winners“:

“The main melody, which Tan described as “glorious, heartwarming and full of respect”, was recorded using the digital recording of a 2,450-year-old bell set excavated from a site in Hubei.”

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Jan 07

Asian Music Update

Written by: Steve | Filed under:culture, media, music, Photos, video | Tags:, , , , , , , , , ,
15 Comments » newest 2016-02-11 08:15:16

TheAnalogGirl_bRather than stick to just one country, I thought I’d highlight underground music from Hong Kong on this post and add a little bit from the rest of Asia on the end. On the left is the Analog Girl, one of the hottest acts on the continent. Hailing from Singapore, the electro-rock chanteuse was named by TIME magazine as one of the 5 Music Acts to Watch in 2008. Since that time she’s toured the world with her unique sound.

I also got interested in the underground music scene in Hong Kong after I discovered “The Underground Channel” on YouTube.  After the jump, we’ll feature videos from Quasar, Tacit Closet, Soler, The Sinister Left, DJ Matthew Veith, Hardpack, Audiotraffic and Poubelle International. We’ll also hear from Jakarta’s Goodnight Electric, Malaysia’s Zee Avi and Beijing’s P.K. 14 along with Japan’s Vamp and YMCK. Finally for some of the older crowd, I want to introduce a couple of Enka style acts from Japan, which is surprisingly similar (at least to me) of some of the classic Chinese singers.

Today’s collection is very eclectic so hopefully there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

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Dec 05

Immaculate Machine’s Tour of China

Written by: Steve | Filed under:culture, media, music | Tags:, ,
3 Comments » newest 2009-12-08 17:12:50

im003_10x6 (Large)We’ve written about China’s music scene in the past and remarked how few hip bands actually tour the country. Most of what appears are singers and bands that saw their heyday decades ago.

With the help of Louis Yu, Vancouver’s own Immaculate Machine is currently touring China. They are a side project of the New Pornographers, and their newest album, “High on Jackson Hill”, featured appearances by Alex Kaprano of Franz Ferdinand and members of the Cribs. They’ve also worked with such famous performers as Neko Case and AC Newman.

So for all our readers who live in China and wish they could see more quality acts, here’s your chance to catch a hot band that really knows their stuff. Their concert dates are after the jump.

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Nov 30

For the last two centuries, the Chinese psyche has been defined in large part by the humiliations and sufferings brought about by foreigners (see the Opium War, the Second Opium War, and the Nanjing Massacre). After the founding of the current Peoples Republic of China, it was the disastrous policies of the Cultural Revolution and the Great Leap Forward which furthered that wound. The latter were the Chinese inflicting pain onto themselves.
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Nov 18

Everyone knows China is going through an industrial revolution right now. In developed countries such as the U.S., this took place in the late 19th century. The ratio between the number of rural and urban residents basically swapped because industrialization freed the bulk of the population from having to work in the fields to produce food for all. This phenomenon is occurring in China right now with her massive GDP growth in the last three decades. Despite the hundreds of millions of people having moved to urban areas, the number of Chinese citizens residing in the rural areas is still staggering – 750 million. If the final ratio is similar to other developed countries (which is likely), the scale of this population movement in the coming decades is mind-numbing. Imagine one billion people on the move in only a few decades!
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Oct 21

Lou Jing: Racism Gone Wild?

Written by: Steve | Filed under:culture, education, General, media, music, News, Opinion, video | Tags:, , , ,
393 Comments » newest 2016-05-24 04:26:56

Lou Lou Jing (娄婧) entered a competition reality show called “Let’s Go! Oriental Angels” (加油!东方天使) on Dragon TV. Though born and raised in Shanghai and a Chinese citizen all her life, her story is quite complicated. Her mother was married to a Chinese man but had an affair with an African American man and gave birth to Lou Jing. The African American man went back to the States before Lou Jing was born, the Chinese husband divorced his wife when he discovered she had an affair, so Lou Jing was raised by a single mother. She is considered a talented singer, speaks fluent Mandarin and Shanghainese and is Chinese in every way except for her looks and skin color.

However, upon entering this competition, she was shocked to find rude racial epithets hurled against her on the Chinese blogosphere. Was she really Chinese? Quite a few people felt she was not. They condemned her for her skin color and her mother’s infidelity. Many comments were blatantly racist.

I first became aware of this story when James Fallows mentioned it in his Atlantic blog. He wrote, “To be clear about the context: this is not a “blame China” episode but rather one of many illustrations of the differences in day by day social realities and perceived versus ignored sources of tension in particular societies. That’s all to say about it for now.” I want to explore those tensions further.

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Oct 15

Oct 05

Mind as well dress all these musicians in panda costumes. 🙂

Sep 23

minipost-Sound Unlimited!

Written by: Steve | Filed under:-mini-posts, culture, media, music | Tags:, ,
1 Comment » newest 2009-09-25 00:05:49

Louis Yu’s new show called Sound Unlimited has hit the net. This show features indie music from all over the world, including the hottest bands in China. The format is in Chinese and you can download the podcast here or subscribe to it on iTunes.

Take a few minutes to check it out. It’s very rare (if not unique) to be able to find a music podcast from North America (in this case, Vancouver) that caters to the Chinese market. I can guarantee you that Lou knows his music and you’ll be exposed to many top bands you’ve never heard nor seen before.

Sep 15

Panda loves bamboo, and so did ancient Chinese musicians. Here is an image of a ceramic xiao () player excavated from an Eastern Han Dynasty (25-220 AD) tomb in Sichuan province (also home to pandas). The dizi (笛子) is held horizontally. Both are made of bamboo. What do you get when you add the Mongolian morin khurr to the mix? Here is a composition involving these instruments: “梦回鄂尔多斯 (Dreaming Ordus).” Ordus (鄂尔多斯) is a city in Inner Mongolia, China.
Aug 17

Louis Yu’s Indie Podcasts

Written by: Steve | Filed under:culture, General, media, music | Tags:, , , ,
8 Comments » newest 2010-10-09 18:42:27

Louis Yu It’s not often a guy working on his PhD in theoretical computer science is also one of the hottest Chinese DJs in North America, but there’s always an exception and Louis Yu (余雷) fits that role. Originally from Guilin, China,  he’s currently in Vancouver, Canada studying at the University of Victoria while also doing a weekly podcast featuring world indie music.

And where can you find his 30 minute weekly podcast? It’s right here on  www.wooozy.cn where you can catch this week’s show plus access the archive for all previous editions once you’re hooked. The difference with Louis’ show is that all the introductions are in Mandarin rather than English. It’s his way to bring a new style of music to an audience more familiar with Asian pop in a easy to digest manner. Starting in September, he’ll be switching to a show highlighting an equal balance of both Western & Chinese music.

Lou was kind enough to share his thoughts on China’s current music scene. As he is a Chinese expat very familiar with indie music throughout the world, I felt his opinions would be a nice contrast to the western voices we’ve heard reporting from China.

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Aug 16

the China Lightroom blog: “Made in China”

Written by: dewang | Filed under:culture, Environment, General, media, music, video | Tags:
14 Comments » newest 2009-08-19 13:26:45

Aug 12

Few years ago I visited Chengdu and drove all the way to Jiuzhaigou (九寨沟).  I got a chance to see the pristine side of Sichuan province and a number of local performances.  I stumbled upon this music video by Tibetan Chinese singer, Kelsang Metok (格桑梅朵), “Falling in Love with Jiuzhaigou (九寨沟).”  It gives a great intro to that region and reminded me of many things I saw during that trip.
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Jun 26

Chinese Rock n’ Roll!

Written by: Steve | Filed under:culture, General, music, video | Tags:, , ,
33 Comments » newest 2009-07-25 19:05:12

hardqueen81 We’ve done some posts on China and Taiwan music in the past, but those were about the general music scene. Today I’d like to feature two videos created by Brendan Madden, who lives in Qingdao, is a teacher and member of the band Dama Llamas, and keeps up with the scene in northern China. I’ll also feature a few other bands you might not know, and some comments about where I think things are headed.

These two mini-documentaries show the trials and tribulations of trying to establish modern music venues in China. So far, the audience has too many non-Chinese expats along with too few locals, though locals form most of the bands themselves. Right now, Beijing is the hot spot in northern China with the most popular bands in the country. Outside of Beijing, legitimate venues are hard to come by and the money isn’t very lucrative. In these places, rock n’ roll comes strictly from the heart.

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Mar 16

There’s a new phenomenon sweeping China. Back in January on a Chinese web page, a new video made its way from there into the hearts of internet users all across the country, spawning a wave of related items such as cartoons, documentaries and grass-mud horse dolls.

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Jan 19

Chinese American Art & Culture

Written by: Steve | Filed under:culture, education, General, music | 4 Comments » newest 2009-01-29 00:59:38

p1000953a-large

Heart Sutra: Calligraphy by Wendy Lee

The San Diego Chinese Art Society recently presented the Thirteenth Annual San Diego International Music & Arts Festival. Sometimes we tend to forget about Chinese who have emigrated to other countries but continue to keep in touch with their culture in a new environment. The San Diego Chinese community has many organizations dedicated to keeping their ancestral culture alive, and the events these organizations hold are supported not just by Chinese Americans but by the San Diego residents from all ethnic groups.

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Jan 14

Taiwan’s Alternative Music Scene

Written by: Steve | Filed under:culture, General, media, music, politics, video | 23 Comments » newest 2009-12-16 14:45:40

ricemagnet

We covered China’s  underground music scene in a previous thread and with the new year approaching, I wanted to introduce some alternative artists from Taiwan.  I’m sure everyone already knows the most popular Mando-pop stars, so here are a few that are a little less known. Most of these musicians either made their debuts or saw an upsurge in their popularity over the course of 2008. An article I read recently in the Taipei Times was the initial catalyst in my search for finding newer artists.

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