Yaogun o el rock en la China de la Post-Revolución Cultural – Yaogun: Rock in the Chinese Post-Cultural Revolution |

El pasado 19 de enero, nuestros amigos de Music Dish China en asocio con The China Institute en Nueva York lanzaron una serie de conferencias y eventos académicos enfocados a la historia y el impacto actual del movimiento del rock en China y éste hacia Occidente. Dale clic a la foto de portada. Reseña traducida al español para Latinoamérica. – On January 19th, our friends Music Dish China in partnership with The China Institute (NYC) have launched an academic conference series about the history and the current impact of the Chinese rock movement in China and the Western as well. Click on our cover photo. Only in Spanish for Latin America.

Cuando Eric de Fontenay, fundador de Music Dish News Network visitó por primera vez al gran gigante asiático en el 2009 nunca imaginó que el rock occidental había empezado a permear la dura capa cultural en las jóvenes generaciones luego de la post-revolución cultural surgida desde 1989. Un revival de las leyendas y los sonidos indies de los 70 y 80 cobraron nuevamente brillo e importancia tanto en China como en Taiwán. De ese modo, grupos, solistas y festivales estaban emergiendo con mucho vigor en estos países. Y de ese renovado caldo musical y cultural llamó la atención de varias miradas occidentales para darse cuenta que realmente algo estaba ocurriendo.

Hoy en día, el rock chino se está expandiendo como un big bang sonoro; festivales como el Modern Sky Festival, surgido del Strawberry Music Festival, ya son una realidad en los Estados Unidos y Europa; bandas como Second Hand Rose y New Pants, entre otras, ya son oficialmente invitadas a certámenes de alto rango como el Paléo Festival, el SXSW, y el Reading Festival, entre otros; ruedas de negocios y certámenes académicos y culturales como el SOTX (Sounds of the City) y DongDong ahora se ejecutan anualmente; cabe resaltar además el denodado trabajo bilateral de ambos lados del hemisferio como la misma Music Dish China, CCTV, las redes sociales chinas y occidentales, los centros culturales de promoción de la cultura y el arte chino en varios países occidentales, y cómo no, los medios de comunicación de ambos bandos.

Bajo ese pretexto, surge Serve The People! Serve The Rock! China’s Post-Cultural Revolution “Yaogun”, una serie de conferencias y exposiciones académicas y culturales acerca de este fenómeno actual. Yaogun se refiere al Rock en China que apareció hace 30 años cuando Cui Jian (considerado el Padre del Rock Chino) cantó en vivo “Nothing to My Name” para el Concierto Anual de la Paz Internacional en el Estadio de los Trabajadores, en Beijing. Esa actuación no sólo lo catapultó a la fama y abrió los oídos a sus coterráneos sino que sirvió como la gran semilla que germinaría en un movimiento cultural nunca antes visto y que seguiría llevado por un puñado de artistas indie en ese gran país. Yaogun crecería y se solidificaría en la capital china como un circuito musical que, 3 décadas después, nos sorprende con una gran cantidad de propuestas, festivales y enlaces con dos docenas de ciudades y más de 15 livehouse en solo Beijing, lugares donde neonatos grupos y músicos dan sus primeros pasos. Yaogun, en síntesis, es la gran fuerza indetenible del rock chino y que gracias a la tecnología como la internet y los medios de comunicación (shows radiales y de TV) han traspasado las fronteras acaparando nuevos fans en Europa y Norteamerica.

Bajo la batuta del mismo Eric de Fontenay, el panel estuvo integrado por el veterano VJ de MTV Asia Stone (Schutze) Shi, el compositor, productor y arreglista chino-mongol Nature Ganganbaigal, el famoso productor y empresario musical estadounidense Robert Singerman, y el Dr. Jiayan Mi, Profesor Adjunto del Programa de Ingles y Lenguas Universales de The College of New Jersey, quien este último expuso el impacto del rock en la China post-Mao.

Quizás este sea buen momento, a manera de cierre, que se pueda realizar este tipo de conferencias y expandir la apertura del rock chino en Latinoamérica gracias a los tratados bilaterales y al crecimiento de público cada vez más ávido de conocer los exóticos sonidos de Asia con la ayuda de la Internet. Esperemos que Colectivo Bunka junto con nuestros colegas de Music Dish podamos llevar a Yaogun para que cautive con su música nuestro continente latino a futuro.

Chinese rock bands striking chord in US|Across America|chinadaily.com.cn

On a recent cloudy afternoon in a basement in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, Guan Wenkang and his friends practiced their newly composed melodies.

Guan, a junior at the School of Visual Arts in New York who loves playing drums, said that he had started his own yaogun band a few months ago.

Guan's band consists of one Japanese, one American and there Chinese members. He said his band was diversified ethnically and believes that their music styles will become diversified too in the future.

Chinese rock bands striking chord in US

Music fans visit Eric de Fontenay's Chinese rock music (yaogun) exhibitions at the China Institute in New York on Jan 19. Long Yifan / For China Daily

"A metropolis always gives us international vision and inspiration," he said.

Yaogun is China's version of rock 'n' roll.

Guan said that New York has many accessible rehearsal rooms, from expensive studios to economical basements, which he said is an "an apparent advantage over students who are studying at home".

Guan said one of his friends at school offered his own basement for them to rehearse free of charge.

"I tried to integrate the strong beat of Chinese drum with the relieving sound of saxophone," Guan said. His ambition was to produce his own interpretation of The Beatles.

Yaogun has become increasingly popular in the last decade.

Eric de Fontenay, the founder of MusicDish*China, an independent music company in New York that promotes yaogun band performances worldwide, became a fan of Chinese rock after a trip to Beijing. He organized an exhibition last month at the China Institute in New York.

De Fontenay said that his company has signed five top Chinese rock bands for overseas performances, including Second Hand Rose, which mixes modern rock music with northeastern duets (er'renzhuan), and Nanwu, a band that combines Buddhist melodies with a heavy metal beat.

De Fontenay said that Chinese music not only includes the classically elegant pipa or guzheng melodies but also incorporates innovative combinations both modern and classical.

"What I initially wanted to do was to let the American audiences learn another aspect of Chinese music in a panoramic view, not a stereotype," he said.

De Fontenay made his first trip to China in 2009, and his first stop was Beijing, which is also the cradle of modern yaogun going back three decades.

"I went into a bar with a sophisticated design in Wudaokou," he said. "I happened to hear a unique yaogun piece, music that took me back to 1980s rock music in New York."

De Fontenay said that he wanted to bring his enthusiasm and feelings of nostalgia for yaogun back home. So he began to develop an idea for a company.

He established the company and organized a series of outbound performances of Chinese rock bands in the United States as "a gradual and steady trial that would yield bigger success".

He established the company and organized a series of outbound performances of Chinese rock bands in the United States as "a gradual and steady trial that would yield bigger success".

Jonathan Campbell, a freelance writer who spent a decade in China as a yaogun drummer, promoter and agent, said yaogun is "not just a Chinese version of rock and roll", but serves as a witness to the journey of Chinese culture in the past four decades. In 1986, Cui Jian, considered the godfather of yaogun, had a big hit called Nothing to My Name.

Rooted in the folk music of Northeast China, the song mixed traditional Chinese musical instruments such as the gong and drum with intense, straightforward rhythms, giving listeners a new take on Western music in the mid-1980s, a period of change and reform.

Cui said his musical style "was heavily influenced by the Western figures" such as Bob Dylan and the Rolling Stones. In the late 1980s, Cui even imitated John Lennon's hairstyle, a cultural experiment on China's social tolerance.

According to research by Fu Boyi, associate professor of musicology at Shenyang University, yaogun music had been continuously consolidating its position as an "innovative product made in China" in the 1990s when several yaogun music companies were established.

Chinese rock bands striking chord in US

Fu said yaogun has become a lucrative market that offers opportunities for musicians and investors.

"The commercial performances and yaogun music festival have become a major part of their revenues," Fu said. "Derivative consumption such as yaogun tours and yaogun souvenirs bring more margin to the market."

According to the Report on China Outdoor Music Festival Market Development, by the Beijing-based Daolue Music Industry Development Research Center, there were 148 outdoor music festivals (most of which were rooted in yaogun music), almost double the number in 2012.

The report also showed there were approximately 3.1 million yaogun festival-goers in 2014, skyrocketing from 1.7 million in 2012.

Yaogun also has gotten a boost from Chinese students studying abroad.

Yinming Jin, assistant director of MusicDish*China, said that Chinese rock has become more popular in the US mainly because of the increasing number of Chinese students, who now number more than 300,000.

Jin, a recent alumna from an art college in Pennsylvania, said the total population of Chinese students in her class was 50 but soared to 200 the next year.

"The possible audience was expanding, and why not the market?" she said.

Jin said that the last US performance by Second Hand Rose in Washington had attracted more than 400 listeners, both Chinese and non-Chinese.

"Most of the time, more than 90 percent of our audiences are overseas Chinese students," she said.

Jin said that Chinese students born after the 1990s are more aware of yaogun.

"Therefore, we see a promising future of Chinese yaogun in the US," she said.

Li Shuo, a Chinese immigrant and rock band organizer in New York, said his understanding about Chinese music was mainly based on modern China.

Li started his band in March 2015, but it has consistently changed its focus from ballads in the 1960s style to more rock 'n' roll styles.

The band Li Dashuo & Cantonese King used to have one drummer and one bass player but he drummer was replaced by a more "rockish" one and the bass player was replaced by a guitarist.

Although the band's members are all Chinese, the changes reflect how musical styles adapt, as has yaogun.

Long Yifan in New York contributed to this story.

 

SinoVision English Channel | Yaogun: Chinese Rock-and-Roll

Yaogun: Chinese Rock-and-Roll

Although called “Chinese rock-and-roll,” there’s definitely more to the musical genre in China known as yaogun than its translation.

SinoVision Journal reporter Lani Nelson went to China Institute to learn more about where rock-and-roll ends and yaogun begins, as well as where yaogun fits within the global history of rock music.

 

Wallplay | BodyMemory: Stories

BodyMemory: Stories

BEIJING ARTIST YI ZHOU
EXPLORES THE RELATIONSHIP
WITH OUR BODIES

Wallplay Shop
312 Bowery
January 26 – 31

Opening reception: January 26th, 6pm

Formed in Beijing and featured throughout Asia, designer and artist Yi Zhou brings the BodyMemory project to Wallplay Shop at 312 Bowery. BodyMemory explores the relationship we have with our bodies through beautifully casted wearable accessories, such as finger necklaces and nose broaches, as well as selected items from a variety of other designers featured at this year’s Bejing Design Week. The BodyMemory: Stories concept shop will showcase selected stories behind the collection, while providing an on-site service in clinic fashion for personally-casted body jewelry.

The concept behind the clinic revolves around the subjects’ “stories” of each BodyMemory patient, and the casted body parts that are transformed into wearable accessories. In pursuing the project, Yi realized that the stories behind why her subjects chose a specific body part for casting, were as interesting as the resulting accessories produced. “A friend told me you can tell a lot about a woman’s vagina by the shape of her lips.” – A young woman who chose to cast her lips for Yi’s BodyMemory collection. Having collected numerous personal stories, Yi will display the most insightful ones, casting a revealing light on how we internalize body image and understanding through a social lense. She will also be presenting her latest work, which is composed of body casts from people living in New York who she encountered during her artist-in-residency at Flux Factory.

ABOUT YI ZHOU:
Born and raised in Beijing, Yi Zhou is an artist, independent designer and the founder of LittleE Studio. She received her MA in Industrial Design at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design. Yi work has covered a broad range, including: art, design and fashion. Most of her projects are drawn from daily life, focusing primarily on the interrelation between human interactions and behavior. Yi gathers inspiration from social issues through observation and categorization, transferring those insights and analysis into playful artistic manifestations.

Meet Yi Zhou

November 27, 2015

Central Saint Martins, MA Industrial Design, 2013

Born and raised in Beijing, Yi Zhou is an artist and independent designer. After completing her MA in Industrial Design at CSM, Yi moved back to Beijing and worked as a junior designer for SANS Practice before founding her own design studio, LittleE Studio. Most of Yi’s projects are drawn from sociological angles, and focusing primarily on the interrelation between human relations and behaviour. She takes inspiration from the mundane and transfers those insights and analysis into a playful artistic manifestations.

Find out about Yi’s experience at UAL and some of her interesting and interactive projects including the Hutong eraser and the BodyMemory project, which have caught the attention of international audiences…

What made you want to come and study industrial design at Central Saint Martins (CSM)?

I guess the approach to industrial design (ID) at CSM is more conceptual or artistic compare with traditional ID courses at other schools. Usually, industrial design is about solving problems, but at CSM, it is also about questioning. The courses give students freedom to explore the subjects they want, be it related to food/craftsmanship/hi-tech. An additional point is CSM is located in London. It is such a rich and wonderful city that’s full of creativity.

 

What is your fondest memory of your time at CSM?

Probably the time working in the studio with colleagues until the last minute when the school closed. I still remember the security guard starting to clear out all the rooms and people walked out from the main entrance as a group in the late night. The studio and workshops are like our battlefield and we are literally the last fighters. Everyone at CSM is so talented, yet still work so.

 

What do you think was the most important thing CSM taught you?

Critical thinking, the ability of doing research and team work. Those are the three key factors that help with all design processes in practice.

 

What advice would you give any student wanting to come to study at UAL from China?

First, be ready for a tough period of time, but the experience and skills you gain will benefit you throughout your entire life. Secondly, don’t worry about doing something wrong. The line between right or wrong is sometimes blurred. We gain our personal experience from discussions and mistakes.

 

What do you do now?

On one hand I am operating my mini scale design studio doing product design, curation and organizing interactive events throughout China. We have a main project ‘BodyMemory’ but also we have a product ‘Hutong’ eraser produced by a U.S. gift company Kikkerland. Now it is available in the North America market.

Hutong Eraser Yi’s Hutong eraser – based on the Hutong architecture located on the streets of Beijing. As the city is filled with more and more high rises, the traditional hutong-style streets disappear, just like the eraser will when is it used. This product was the winner of China Design Challenge run by Kikkerland.

 

Tell us more about the BodyMemory Project?

BodyMemory is based on the hypothesis that the body itself is capable of storing memories, not just the brain. Based on this theory, I created a series of duplicated cast models of human body parts that were transformed into accessories. This is especially meaningful for anyone who has special memories associated with that particular body part. This has been really successful and we have held over twenty ‘surgeries’ over the past year, ‘treating’ over 170 patients in New York, Taiwan, Hong Kong and across China. It also has been featured in several leading press outlets such as Timeout Beijing, Cool Hunting, Crane.tv and Huffington Post. It is also a regular project at Beijing Design Week since 2014 as well as featured as part of NYCxDesign 2015.

 

What have you been most proud of so far?

The BodyMemory project has been alive for nearly two years! At the beginning I didn’t expect the project to last this long. I am proud of myself for keeping it going, developing it and showcasing it at several exhibitions, loads of pop up events, and now to the U.S.

 

What do you most love about Beijing?

I grew up in Beijing, so there are lots of memories for me here. After I graduated and returned to my hometown, I actually find new things that I never thought about before. It is like rediscovering my city and that excites me.

 

Whats next for you?

Currently I am in New York for a three month artist in residency program at Flux Factory. It is an opportunity to learn and feel something different from my home country. Also we started a crowdfunding campaign called ‘Sharing the Spirit of Beijing with New York Through BodyMemory’(http://rkthb.co/61846) to support my residency in LIC. We will see how people react in Big Apple about my crazy ideas :)

 

GEMINI: dos almas compartiendo una gran melodía – GEMINI: two souls sharing a large song! |

Desde Beijing, dialogamos con este dúo interracial demostrando cuán cercanos están Occidente y Oriente para esparcir sus canciones por todo el planeta. – From Beijing, we spoke out with this interracial duo who are teaching us how Eastern and Western are closely to spread their songs around the world.

Por: Pedro Suárez.

Fotos: GEMINI para fines periodísticos.

Agradecimientos especiales: Music Dish China.

Internet fue el celestino digital que logró los primeros acercamientos entre dos almas creativas cortando las abismales distancias entre el compositor de música metal francés Gabryl y la diseñadora de modas Suna, oriunda de China. Bajo los encantos de la Ciudad Luz, ambos se conocieron en la vida real siendo dos extraños a pesar de haber conversado muchas veces en el ciberespacio. Y tiempo después, en plena primavera del 2005 emerge GEMINI en la escena musical de Beijing. Un año después, el dúo lanzó su álbum debut “Personal Life”, cautivando los oídos tanto de la crítica como del naciente público bajo esa mezcla especia de Nu-Metal, Chinesehttps://colectivobunka.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=6338&action=edit Pop, French Electro y una pizca de melodías dándole un sonido único y atractivo. En el 2008, luego de un laudo arbitral con el sello Zhushu Entertainment, GEMINI toma absolutamente el control de sus propias producciones teniendo una completa libertad creativa. Cabe anotar que Gabryl se convirtió en el primer músico extranjero en haber sido fichado por un sello disquero chino. El dúo ganó más adeptos y mayor reconocimiento luego de lanzar un álbum de covers, destacándose la versión de “Pokerface”, homenajeando a Lady Gaga.

Actualmente, GEMINI culminó su más reciente gira llamada “GEMINI 2015 Psycho Tour” tocando en diversas ciudades de la China Continental, por lo que en esta entrevista por primera vez ante un medio latinoamericano nos contaron sus experiencias como pareja, su visión de la escena musical china y su gusto por el slogan de Colectivo Bunka el cual reitera la importancia de las conexiones humanas más allá de las diferencias.

Colectivo Bunka. Les agradecemos que aceptaran nuestra entrevista exclusiva para Colombia y América Latina. Mi primera pregunta es, en pocas palabras, ¿cómo se conocieron para tocar juntos?

GEMINI. Hay una larga historia antes de tocar juntos. Nosotros dos nos conocimos por Internet a través de una red social en la web en Francia hace 10 años. Después de un mes de comunicaciones por internet, pensamos que sería divertido conocernos en la vida real. Y después de eso, nos dimos cuenta que juntos podemos hacer muchas cosas, incluyendo la música.

C. B. Es muy interesante cómo ustedes pueden fusionar en sus canciones diversos géneros como el Nu-Pop, Chinese Pop, electro-francés, entre otros. ¿Cuál es su secreto especial para mantener esta sinergia en cada tema para difundir su mensaje y su energía a todos sus fans en todo el mundo?

G. Tenemos que mantener intacto nuestro ADN de nosotros mismos como dos individuos, que es lo más natural de producir juntos la música, pero más aún mantener intacta nuestras raíces de donde venimos, nuestra verdadera identidad. Luego, tenemos que fusionarnos en uno solo, como la conversión en un ser humano homogéneamente híbrido siendo lo más interesante, importante y difícil de hacer en nuestro concepto. Por supuesto que a nosotros nos gustan un montón de cosas diferentes a la música, pero tenemos que mantener un equilibrio; saber mezclar muy bien nuestras necesidades y nuestros pensamientos.

C. B. ¿Cuáles son sus mayores influencias musicales que los hacen sentir inspirados para crear su propio sonido?

G. Eso cambia con el tiempo. Podemos señalar muchos artistas, pero quienes nos influencian la mayor parte podrían ser: Metallica, Björk y Marilyn Manson.

C. B. ¿Cuál es su opinión sobre el movimiento rock-pop chino actualmente a nivel mundial?

G. Creemos que es como un recién nacido que viene a este gran mundo. Él (o ella) está creciendo rápidamente, pero todavía se ve pequeño. Tal vez lo que realmente necesita es una versión más sólida de sí mismo y un gran escenario.C. B. Gabryl, eras un compositor de Metal y Suna, una diseñadora de moda, ¿cierto? Ustedes poseen sólidas visiones y diferentes experiencias sobre cómo pueden ver la cultura y la realidad mundial. ¿Qué lecciones y recuerdos han sido útiles para mantener actualmente a GEMINI como un poderoso dúo interracial en primera fila?

G. Sí, así es. Somos tan diferentes en muchos aspectos. Creo que lo que estamos tratando de hacer es 1 + 1, no un 2-1. Después de todo vivimos juntos, es una fusión de dos seres humanos en una vida y eso es más grandioso que la propia música. Así es como nos interactuamos.

C. B. Escuché algunos temas y me encontré con su cover de “Pokerface”. ¿Cuéntanos cómo nació este tributo especial a Lady Gaga?

G. Gústele o no, Lady Gaga es un fenómeno actual de la cultura pop en las generaciones más jóvenes. Cuando hicimos este disco de covers, insistimos absolutamente en que teníamos que homenajear a Lady Gaga, incluso habíamos pensado en muchas cabezaduras alrededor que no aportan nada bueno sobre ella.

C. B. ¿Conocen o han escuchado alguna banda o músico de Latinoamérica? (Si su respuesta es no, ¿qué les gustarían saber de América Latina en cuanto a su música?)

G. Sí, claro: Shakira, Carlos Santana, Angra, Sepultura, Soulfly, Julio Iglesias.

C. B. En la historia de GEMINI, ¿cuál ha sido el concierto más importante que nunca olvidarán? ¿Por qué?

G. ¡El siguiente! Porque es el único que nunca podemos olvidar sin importar lo que pase. Y seguramente será el mejor.

C. B. ¿Qué artistas y / o bandas de Asia nos podrían recomendar actualmente?

G. Sheena Ringo con Tokyo Incidents.

C. B. ¿Cuáles son sus planes para este año?

G. Estamos terminando nuestro “GEMINI 2015 Psycho Tour”. Después, empezaremos a producir un nuevo álbum.

C. B. ¿Cómo te imaginan a GEMINI en un par de años, en el futuro?

G. ¿Ser más jóvenes? ¿Viajar a la Luna? ¿Saltar en el tiempo?C. B. Una vez más, les agradecemos su tiempo para esta entrevista; me gustaría que enviasen un saludo a nuestro público tanto en Colombia como en Latinoamérica.

G. Muchas gracias por escuchar la música de GEMINI y por entrevistarnos. Y esperamos que los rayos del sol y la cálida energía siempre brillarán para ustedes que están en Colombia y Latinoamérica.

C. B. Finalmente, un saludo de GEMINI para Colectivo Bunka en Colombia.

G. Acabamos de darnos cuenta que el slogan de Colectivo Bunka es ¡te conecta con Asia! No importa cómo, conectarse con la gente es lo más bello que se puede hacer en este planeta. Nuevamente, ¡muchas gracias, chicos!

GEMINI en Facebook.

GEMINI en Reverbnation.

GEMINI en Youtube.

Pedro Suarez.

Photos: Under authorization by GEMINI for journalistic purposes.

Special acknowledges: Music Dish China.

Internet was the digital cupid making the first encounters between two creative souls cutting the abysmal gaps between French metal music composer Gabryl and Chinese fashion designer Suna. Under the charms of the City of Light, they met in the real life but both are strangers there. But these borders were deleted soon. In the spring of 2005, GEMINI is born on the Beijing music scene. In 2006, the duo released their album debut “Personal Life”, captivating the ears of the critics, media, and new fans as well. GEMINI’s music is a spelling and spice Nu-Metal, Chinese Pop, and Electro French mixed melodies sound it attractive. In 2008, after a legal arbitration with Zhushu Entertainment, GEMINI absolutely takes control of its own productions having a complete creative freedom. As a reminder, Gabryl became the first foreign musician to have been signed by a Chinese label. The duo won more fans and more worldwide recognition after releasing a cover album, specially their “Pokerface” song version, to pay a special tribute to Lady Gaga.

Now, GEMINI completed his GEMINI 2015 PSYCHO TOUR performing in several cities across Mainland China, so in this first interview for a Latin American media they told us their couple experiences, their visions about the Chinese music scene, and their attention to the detail about Colectivo Bunka’s motto emphasizing the importance of the human connections beyond the differences.

Colectivo Bunka. Thank you very much to attend us in this interview for Colombia and Latin America. My first question is in a few words, how did you meet to play together?

GEMINI. Before we play together, there was a long story. We two met each other online through a website of social network in France 10 years ago. After a month of communication through internet, we thought it would be funny to meet each other in real life. And after that, we found out that we can do a lot of things together, including music.

C. B. It’s very interesting how you can merge in your songs several genres such as Nu-Pop, Chinese Pop, French Electro, among others. What is your special secret to keep this synergy in each theme to spread your message and energy to the worldwide fans?

G. We have to keep our DNA of ourselves as two individuals, which is the most nature thing to make music together but still keep the identity of where we came from. Then we two have to merge into one unit, like turning into one hybrid homogenic human being, which is the most interesting, important, and difficult thing to do in our story. Of course we both like a lot of different things in music. We have to take a balance. We have to mix our needs and thoughts.

C. B. What are your biggest music influences to feel inspired in create your own sound?

G. It changes with time. We can point out many artists but who influence us the most can be Metallica, Björk, Marilyn Manson.

C. B. What is your opinion about Chinese rock-pop music movement today around the world?

G. We think it’s like a new baby coming to this big world. He or she is growing fast but still looks small. Maybe what they real need is the stronger version of themselves and a big stage.C. B. Gabryl was a Metal composer, and Suna was a fashion designer, right? You have a strong different visions and experiences about how you can see the worldwide culture and reality. What lessons and memories have been useful to keep Gemini as a powerful interracial duo on the top today?

G. Yes we are so different in a lot of aspects. I think what we are trying to do is 1+1, but not 2-1. After all, we live together, that’s a mix of two human beings in one life. That’s bigger than music. That’s how we interact.

C. B. I have been listening some songs and I have found out your “Pokerface” song cover. Tell us how it was born this special tribute to Lady Gaga?

G. Like her or not, Lady Gaga is a phenomenon of Pop Culture of today’s young generation. When we made this cover album, we absolutely insisted that we had to cover Lady Gaga even though many eggheads around didn’t give a shit about this girl.

C. B. Did you know or did you hear any Latin America band or musician? (If your answer is no, what would you like to know of Latin America about your music?)

G. Shakira, Carlos Santana, Angra, Sepultura, Soulfly, Julio Iglesias.

C. B. In the history of GEMINI, what has been the most important concert that you will never forget? Why?

G. The next one! It’s because that’s the only one that we can never forget no matter what. And surely it will be the best.

C. B. What Asian artists and/or bands currently we can recommend?

G. Sheena Ringo with Tokyo Incidents.

C. B. What plans do you have this year?

G. We are finishing our “GEMINI 2015 Psycho Tour”. And then, we will starts to make a new album.

C. B. How you imagine GEMINI in a couple of years, in the future?

G. Getting younger? Travelling the Moon? Time jumping?C. B. Again, thank you very much for this interview and I would like you send a greeting to our audience in Colombia and Latin America.

G. Thank you very much for listening GEMINI’s music and interviewing us. And we hope sunshine and hot feelings will always shine to you guys living in Colombia and Latin America.

C. B. Finally, you send us a greeting to Colectivo Bunka in Colombia.

G. We just notice the motto of Colectivo Bunka is Connects You with Asia! No matter how, connecting people is the most beautiful things to do on this planet. Thanks you guys again!

GEMINI’s Facebook.

GEMINI’s Reverbnation.

GEMINI’s Youtube.

Reinventing Alternative Rock in China - The New Yorker

One a recent Sunday night, Liang Long strutted across the stage of the Marlin Room at Webster Hall, wearing a red floral-print jacket and snug red shorts. The jacket, adorned with dozens of gold tassels, was as majestically fussy as Michael Jackson’s, but with a more playful touch. The flower print, like a vintage wallpaper, was delicate and girlish, a whimsical twist on an otherwise stately look.

Liang Long, the lead singer of one of Beijing’s biggest alternative-rock bands, Second Hand Rose, was on the last stop of his first American tour. Three songs into the set, the group’s guitarist, Yao Lan, ripped into the opening of Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal”; his red tutu bounced in time with the beat, and the crowd jumped along with him. The three-hundred-some audience members were almost all young and Chinese, and many were wearing hats decorated in the band’s signature red or green flower print, borrowed from their native region of Dongbei. The “Smooth Criminal” sample gave way to the sounds of heavy metal, and Liang Long began to wail, almost sounding like Gene Simmons of Kiss. The riffs on other songs—everything from hair metal to Peking opera—came and went within seconds, and somehow all came together to sound like nineties alternative rock.

 

Over the past decade, China’s alternative-rock scene has grown from marginal, with bands playing shows to a hundred Beijing teen-agers, to a near mainstream phenomenon, with festivals attracting more than a hundred thousand people. Liang Long, who grew up in a rural village in Dongbei in the seventies and eighties, first heard Western rock music when a friend returned from Beijing with a Guns N’ Roses videotape. “It was so cool and distinctive,” he told me recently at a lounge in Queens. “It was like they just did whatever they wanted to, and were very free.” He was dressed smartly, in head-to-toe black, and had a polite, thoughtful demeanor at odds with his tongue-in-cheek act.

Liang Long tried to cover Metallica songs, but found the screaming made him lose his voice. He tried to write his own grunge music, with limited success. After trying and failing to make it as a musician in Beijing, he abandoned his attempts to imitate Western rock and returned to Dongbei in the late nineties. There, he began to infuse his music with local sounds and styles, and put together the first incarnation of Second Hand Rose (several band members have since been replaced). Rock music might be “second hand” in China, but that didn’t mean it could only be derivative, or that the band needed to abandon their roots in order to participate in the rock tradition.

Second Hand Rose’s first show was in the third-tier city of Harbin, in Dongbei. Dressed in a cheap sweater, Liang Long quickly applied some lipstick and eyeliner before taking the stage. With so many pretty girls cheering for the other bands, he needed to give himself a more distinctive look. From this unpromising beginning, Second Hand Rose’s popularity grew, and the band members in time came to be known as veterans of alternative rock. Second Hand Rose now headlines major music festivals, and has performed at the prestigious state-run Worker’s Gymnasium in Beijing. In the mean time, Liang Long’s stage appearance developed into full drag—a bald Shanghai glamour girl in qipao and red heels—and then to the half-drag that he sports today. With his shaved head and flashy flower-print outfits, he looks like he’s wearing the retro fashion of the future.

Fifteen years after Second Hand Rose began, is Chinese rock still “second hand”? “It’s no longer escapism or trying not to see the world around you, since Western musical styles are now a part of daily life,” the band’s percussionist, Jeroen Groenewegen-Lau, said. The band’s novelty, more than ever, lies in the tension they create between traditional and Western forms. They run fluid suona melodies alongside heavy-metal guitar riffs; they play an entire song that mimics the comic folk-theater form Errenzhuan, in which a man and a woman exchange foul language and vulgar jokes. As Second Hand Rose has grown in popularity, they have helped to transform country traditions, like their signature red-and-green prints, into signifiers of cool. It’s not unthinkable that inventive Chinese musicians will continue to find new ways to infuse their work with local influences and, in the process, revamp folk-music traditions.

At Webster Hall, the room was packed, and the crowd contained so many new Chinese immigrants that, as a second-generation Chinese person, I felt slightly out of place. Nonetheless, when the Tom Waits-like opening to “Picking A Flower” gave way to its folksy chorus, with Liang Long’s distinctively Chinese croon, I found myself singing along with everyone else; I knew the melody even though I’d heard it just once before. When the song morphed into a Pink Floyd psychedelic space riff, only to devolve into Peking opera instrumentals and, finally, to nineties-style hard rock, the appeal of this bonkers mixture became clear: it’s a tour of the sounds that constitute an urban, internet-savvy, millennial Chinese youth.

When Second Hand Rose performed their Errenzhuan song, and their manager led a conga line through the crowd, I started to see how they might break through in the West. Liang Long’s earnestness as he played the Errenzhuan was entertainingly outrageous, and his subtle mockery of Chinese authority—the costume, the military salutes, the occasional allusions to Communist-era songs—betrayed a real irreverence. Liang Long flew all over the stage, doing a sort of pas de deux with Yao Lan, and they emanated something that can only be experienced firsthand: the raucous joy that’s fundamental to rock and roll.

Second Hand Rose, un rock pas comme les autres × Chine, Tour du Monde × LeMurDuSon.ch

Le mois passé, nous n’avions pas pris beaucoup de risques en nous rendant à Liverpool, mais comme dans tout grand voyage, il y a des rivières plus difficiles à traverser que d’autres. Alors pour ce mois de septembre, nous avons décidé d’être moins frileux et d’aller nous promener du côté de la Chine.

Si je vous parle de la Chine, qu’est-ce que ça vous évoque ? Nouilles sautées aux légumes ? Baguettes ? Economie ? Mao Tsé-Toung ? Pékin ? Rouleaux de printemps ? Peut-être même que vous pensez à tout ça, mais, reconnaissez-le, vous ne songeriez pas à la musique ! Et pourtant, si vous y regardez de plus près, vous y découvrirez bon nombre de formations de tous les genres : rock, folk, pop, hip-hop, rap, métal, il y en a pour tous les goûts !

Un nouveau genre s’invite chez nous

La scène musicale chinoise est une scène indépendante en pleine expansion. Née dans les années 80’, elle commence gentiment à intéresser le reste du monde, tant pour exporter que pour importer. Preuve en est, la majorité de l’affiche du Village du Monde de la dernière édition du Paléo Festival était représentée par des groupes chinois. Toutefois, il est encore bien difficile de s’imposer comme musicien dans l’Empire du Milieu et bon nombre d’entre eux disposent de moyens dérisoires pour y arriver. L’immense clivage entre la pop dominante, chérie par l’État, et les autres, y est sans aucun doute pour quelque chose. Le désir et le besoin des indépendants d’aller conquérir la scène internationale semblent alors justifiés.

Second Hand Rose

Le groupe que je vous présente ici est une des rares formations chinoises indépendantes qui arrive à vivre de sa musique. Ce succès, il le doit à son rock pionnier qui s’inspire des mélodies et des chants traditionnels chinois. En mélangent  instruments folkloriques et modernes, Second Hand Rose conserve une ambiance locale tout en suivant la tendance.

Le chanteur Liang long, un des deux seuls membres permanents du groupe, avait pour habitude, dans ses débuts, de se présenter sur scène travesti et était maître dans l’art des pitreries scéniques. Sans lésiner sur les mimiques, c’est toutefois rasé et en habit traditionnel qu’on a découvert le chanteur sur la scène du Paléo Festival 2015.

Le style nous semble peut-être encore un peu étranger, mais ne sous-estimant pas le talent de ces nouveaux arrivants.

Pour vous donner une petite idée, je vous propose un de leur clip officiel sous-titré. Bonne écoute.