Qingyuan 清遠: Niuyuzui music festival (2 of 2)

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On the second day of our mini-trip to Qingyuan (see part one), we took a taxi to the natural park of Niuyuzui, a scenic location 30 minutes from Qingyuan City to attend the 2010 Niuyuzui music festival on July 18th, 2010.

Niuyuzui Music Festival in Guangdong 牛鱼嘴音乐节
2010 Niuyuzui Music Festival in Guangdong 牛鱼嘴音乐节

WangWen at Niuyuzui
WangWen 惘闻 (Dalian)

It was a hot day
It was a hot day in South China…

Zhaoze at Niuyuzui
Zhaoze 沼澤 (Guangzhou)

Ourself Beside Me at Niuyuzui 2010
Ourself Beside Me (Beijing) (This is Yangfan, lead singer of OBM)

People attending the Niuyuzui festival

The previous night, we stayed in the city because of the heavy rain, and did not see many of the bands scheduled to play. The good thing is that all the bigger acts of Saturday, which included WangWen, Hedgehog, and American band Caspian, were all squeezed in on Sunday night! At RMB80 (CAD12) for the day pass, we had at least 6-7 major bands on the Chinese indie scene!

It rained the night before, so it was just a slightly fresher summer day in South China. People didn’t really start showing up until the late afternoon, after two post-rock bands, along girl-fronted Ourself Beside Me played. Go Chic from Taiwan literally lit up the place, but that was already after I stood up previously for two entire sets, especially for Ourself Beside Me, who I saw in Beijing in 2008. They were missing a band member, and had a new one (a guy) on keyboards.

Toddler drinking Pepsi
Toddler drinking Pepsi

Go Chic at Niuyuzui
Go Chic (Taipei)

Niuyuzui Music Festival in Guangdong 牛鱼嘴音乐节
Night falling on festival-goers


Caspian at Niuyuzui 2010
Caspian (USA)

Niuyuzui: La fille du fan club de Caspian avait son iPad au show
Caspian fan club girl flashing her iPad

Caspian had their local fan club at the festival. They wore red t-shirts emblazoned with the band’s name, and even carried an iPad with an app that displays banner announcements… And now I wonder when the day will come when we get digital displays malleable enough to be built in your clothing, say.

Hedgehog at Niuyuzui 2010

Hedgehog at Niuyuzui 2010
Hedgehog (Beijing)

Hedgehog at Niuyuzui 2010


I had to catch a bus, so left Niuyuzui at around 9:30PM. It was a Sunday night, and I had to work early the next morning, and about 4 hours (which turned into 5 because of traffic in GZ) separated us from Hong Kong.

The last band was Hedgehog, a indie rock “noisepop” trio that I had been listening to a lot in the past few months. They played right after Caspian (post-rock), and was another band that definitely woke the crowd up, as you could see in the pictures here above (and there was a mosh pit too). Their tiny drummer girl was hitting away, while her two band mates stood coolly while the crowd did most of the moving.

We left, and our friends stayed behind for the bands that they wanted to see, Pet Conspiracy. Unfortunately, I was told that they played about three songs and had to leave (the organizers had to squeeze in all of Saturday’s bands). There was Brain Failure and the Subs too, but one of them cancelled, and I forgot which it was.

The last part of the evening was Carsick Cars, perhaps the biggest name in Chinese rock right now. But they played at 1:30AM, two hours and a half after they were normally scheduled for… My friend said that they were a bit underwhelming, as the crowd was then dead tired at this point. But they did sing their hit Zhongnanhai

Harbour Records compilation: Listen to the People

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My favourite (perhaps because it’s one of the only ones that I know) independent label in Hong Kong, Harbour Records, released a compilation for public consumption. It’s available as a free download here:


Alternatively (especially people in North America), I made a copy of the archive on my webspace with title encodings and mp3 id3 tags corrected to UTF-8. It’s also a RAR, which preserves file names in Chinese, if you absolutely want to read the title names in characters:

Of the artists featured on it, I recognize False Alarm, SuperDay, Jing Wong, Hard Candy, and 林阿P, which we assume is the 阿P of My Little Airport (MLA is not among them).

Track list under the cut.

Continue reading “Harbour Records compilation: Listen to the People”

My 2010 Spring Scream in Kenting: Two festivals, ninety kms in bike, one beach rave party

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kenting beach on sunday morning, after two music festivals, 45km of  bike and a monster beach rave party
Two festival bracelets

Spring Scream festival on Saturday

I’m now sitting at Eluanbi, at the original Spring Scream, writing an entry on my phone that I’ll be posting later when I get wifi.

It’s already Sunday. I arrived here in Taiwan on Wednesday afternoon in Kaohsiung, and got to Kenting before sunset. On Thursday, I spent my day visiting the town of Hengchun, the populated area next to the Kenting National Park. It’s an old town with city walls as tourist attraction.

Hengchun 恆春, Taiwan 台湾
Hengchun 恆春

viet in hengchun
Vietnamese food in Hengchun, Taiwan

When Kenting changes into a party town, Hengchun remains a good alternative for affordable lodging and local/cheap eating. South 300m from the old city wall’s west gate, you can find a delicious viet place opened by a local man and his Vietnamese wife. The noodles broth is bone broth and absolutely without MSG. The spring rolls were very fresh, with minced taro in them.

On Friday, my friend Doug joined me and we went on the first bike trip to the Eluanbi lighthouse. Instead of a music festival, we found an empty field where the main stage of Spring Scream 春呐 used to be, and groups of tourists (including from the Mainland) who were obviously not there to listen to rock music.

After visiting the Eluanbi (goose neck) park, something else I did not do two years back, we discovered that the festival had been downsized. Already it did not provide printed fliers, and posters in Kenting proper were rare, but the Main stage for big-name acts like Faith Yang 楊乃文 in 2008 is no longer there. Instead, only the back of the Eluanbi park is used for Spring Scream, still with the six small stages and one DJ table.

And plus, even if advertised as a four-day event, there was reportedly (from people we met randomly yesterday) only performances on Friday evening. According to the schedule, Monday is just one stage.

7-eleven in hengchun, halfway to maobitou
7-Eleven on our way to Maobitou for Spring Wave

On Saturday, because of an all-fest pass, we came to Eluanbi, but only for less than two short hours. The adventure yesterday was to be Spring Wave 春浪, a commercial, big-name festival at the Maobitou (cat head). There is no comparison with Spring Scream. While SS is a fringe event, that returns this year to its roots of promoting small bands, Spring Wave is made and conceived by the people who brought you Mandopop. One is youth-oriented, attracts expats, and the other is family-oriented, is almost exclusively Chinese (from HK and Mainland too).

Even the sort of food stalls is telling: SS has hamburger, pulled pork stands manned by non-Taiwanese, along local ones, while SV offers a complement of typical Taiwan street food like fried okonomiyaki-style pancakes, five-spice fried chicken and sugar cane juice.

cheer chen at maobitou spring wave

Cheer Chen at Spring Wave in Maobitou

Instead of smaller bands and crowds not often more than 50 per stage, SV is one single stage with audience of well over 1000. While I spent the evening making snarky comments on Mandopop until getting tired of myself, I also enjoyed firsthand the personalities of pop stars we usually only hear in songs. JJ Lin is a womanizing crooner, Cheer Chen is Cheer Chen, Tanya Chua is kinda Singaporean, and the dude from Sodagreen is quirky and kind of gay, really. (full disclosure: i’m a big fan of Cheer, so I came for her, and to take a video of Sodagreen b/c my friend Mary is a big fan.)

Sodagreen covers Eason Chan at Spring Wave

The bike ride itself is an adventure of 14 km up and down hill from Kenting (and the same distance back), through the sleepy village of Daguang, unlit roads near the seaside, and behind the Hengchun nuclear power plant.

Beach party in Kenting, with fireworks

Saturday night, upon our return in Kenting town at 2:30am, we headed to the Caesar’s Hotel beach party. Maybe 500-1000 people crowding a beach, under techno music, probably drugs, raging fireworks exploding like next to you, a 3/4 moon illuminating the crowd and lots of sand in your shoes.

I didn’t participate, but walked across, enjoying the walk and my carton of good Taiwan milk, drunk from the bike ride.

Slept about 3 hours in a tent on the beach and back up for more adventures, which today take me back (thank God) to the Eluanbi Spring Scream.

spring scream's central seafront stage, featuring taiwan's band  "braces"

Orange Doll 橘娃娃, a small Kaohsiung band that I saw in 2008, performing at this year’s Spring Scream

Bands seen include:
– Mary Bites Kerry
– City Cat 城市猫
– won won 旺旺
– anniedora 安妮朵拉
– Caramel 焦糖
– Orange Doll 橘娃娃
– new hong kong hair city 新香港髮都
– OliBand
– Vialka
– Little Fat Pig 小肥猪
– 88 Guavas

明天去墾丁!Tomorrow I’m going to Kenting! Je vais à Kenting demain !

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Kenting during Spring Scream

I’m flying to Kaohsiung, Taiwan, and heading to Kenting tomorrow, ahead of Spring Scream and other activities in this national park and resort town at the southernmost tip. This will be the second time there and I already feel very anxious at the prospect of adventure!

Every year, thousands of mostly young Taiwanese descend on the provincial town to party. But this is a special year as the Chinese holiday of Ching Ming (public holiday in HK, Taiwan) coincides with Easter, resulting in a 5-day long weekend instead of the usual 3-day one.

Spring Scream is my main attraction to Kenting, but other festivals have taken greater space in the festivals/parties landscape in recent years. Spring Wave is perhaps the most serious “competitor” despite the fact that they are very different events. Spring Wave is a single big main stage populated with very big names of Mandarin music, of all-Chinese (including the Mainland) household names like Sodagreen, Mayday, Tanya Chua and Cheer Chen. Spring Scream usually has well-known names on the front stage, like Deserts Chang and Faith Yang in 2008, but they are mostly a chance for smaller amateur acts to get stage experience in SS’ other 7-8 stages.

On another note, I won’t be doing any live coverage like I did for Bande a part in 2008, but will be blogging like I can… on my cellphone this time (like now).

Please take the chance to subscribe to my twitter at commeleschinois.


音乐大同 – Yinyue Datong: new music show on RCV

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Cinq FM 102,3

My friends have a new music show on Radio Centre-Ville (102.3FM in Montreal or anytime on the Web). It’s in Chinese, with Sabina doing the Mandarin parts, and Simon doing the Cantonese ones. The music? It’s mostly in English and French (this is Montreal after all) from all over the world, presented by two musically erudite hosts.

On the first show, they talked about the collaboration between Cocteau Twins and Faye Wong. Wong was very influenced by the Cocteau Twins’ music, especially in her Cantonese album Random Thoughts (1994), heavily featured in Chungking Express (重慶森林).

The second show focused on the theme of death, or actually recently deceased Montreal artists, Lhasa de Sela and Kate McGarrigle (also known as the mother of Rufus and Martha Wainwright).

音乐大同 Yinyue Datong (Music community) airs live on Radio Centre-Ville (102.3FM) from Montreal every Tuesday night at 10:30PM.

Mes amis à Montréal ont une nouvelle émission de radio! C’est sur les ondes de Radio Centre-Ville (102,3FM à Montréal, ou sur le Web en tout temps) et ça parlera de musique et de culture… en chinois. Mais attention! La langue de l’émission est peut-être en chinois (Sabina s’occupe de la partie en Mandarin, tandis que Simon s’occupe de la partie en cantonais), mais la musique viendra d’un peu partout et sera en anglais ou français en majorité.

Comme on est pas dans un film de Wong Kar-wai, les animateurs ne se conversent pas en langues différentes pendant le show, et ce sont en fait des demi-heures aux saveurs sensiblement différentes.

De quels sujets traite-t-on? Pendant la première émission, on a par exemple parlé de la collaboration entre les Cocteau Twins et Faye Wong.

On a enchaîné pour la seconde émission avec un Spécial Morbide, avec des artistes nouvellement morts (pour commémorer la Lhasa de Sela et Kate McGarrigle).

音乐大同 Yinyue Datong (Communité musicale) est transmis en direct sur les ondes de Radio Centre-Ville 102,3FM à Montréal tous les mardis à 22h30.

AMK history – 20th anniversary boxset

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AMK history

Adam Met Karl, also better known as AMK, is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. For the occasion, the Hong Kong indie band is releasing a boxset with 6 CDs containing all their works, plus a video DVD of their concerts. Prices or locations to buy this collection object have not been released yet, but you can go check out their Facebook page for more infos…


AMK is an influential band for Hong Kong’s scene today. While it retired for more than a decade, a few years ago, Harbour Records released a cover album named In the name of AMK with many well-known Hong Kong bands.

Because AMK’s albums are nowhere to be found second-hand, I am particularly looking forward to this boxset’s release…

Rebecca Pan – My Dream My Way My Indie Music

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Rebecca Pan - My Dream, My Way, My Indie Music

Rebecca Pan - My Dream, My Way, My Indie Music

Pour les Québécois parmi mon lectorat, imaginez Ginette Reno reprises par les artistes indie (et plus) les plus connus au Québec. Rebecca Pan (潘迪華), c’est une chanteuse née en 1931 à Shanghai qui a débuté sa carrière musicale dans les années 50 à Hong Kong. Si le nom vous dit (peut-être) quelque chose, c’est parce qu’elle a joué un petit rôle dans In the Mood for Love (celui de Mrs. Suen, une des madames shanghainaises) et que son tube Bengawan Solo (une chanson traditionnelle indonésienne) est dans la bande musicale du film.

Cet album est un peu ce que ça serait à Hong Kong, avec en plus des chansons en duo avec l’artiste originale…


Basically, to translate, I got this new tribute album to Rebecca Pan (潘迪華), who is a famous Chinese singer starting from the 50s. She might be known in the West for her appearance in In the Mood for Love, and a song in this film’s soundtrack.

Aside from covers, there are also original songs and duets. The artists who contributed to the album are all well-known names of the Hong Kong “indie” and sometimes mainstream scenes. That’s PixelToy, My Little Airport, the pancakes, at17, Eason Chan, Chet Lam and GaYumYan.

Beats From The East

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beats from tha east

There’s a new Asian music radio show on the air in Montreal, hosted by DJ Mister Vee, aka Mike Vo, on Concordia’s Student Radio CJLO. Beats From The East started as a podcast and the music selection is centred around urban styles, with names such as Jin, Lee Hom, Jay Chou, Da Mouth, Jasmine Trias, Lyrics Born, Notorious MSG.

Beats From The East runs every Saturday night from 11pm to 12am.

2009-08-27 Banana Music 香蕉音樂

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Cinq FM 102,3

Host + Technique: Cedric

Listen: [audio:http://media.montreal1023.net/full/2009/%e7%83%ad%e5%9c%b0%e5%8d%9a%e5%ae%a2200908272230.mp3]

Ce soir à l’émission: des bands pékinois et shanghainais, avec Hang on the Box, Ourself Beside Me, Joyside, Asthma Writers Union (Mai-Mai) et Muscle Snog.

Écoutez-moi m’enfarger dans mon chinois et allumer le mauvais micro… Ouf. Est-ce que ça tente quelqu’un d’animer ou co-animer un show de radio?

2009-08-13 Banana Music 香蕉音樂

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Host / Animateur : Cedric
Technique : Christie and Lyonciny

Listen: [audio:http://media.montreal1023.net/full/2009/%e7%83%ad%e5%9c%b0%e5%8d%9a%e5%ae%a2200908132230.mp3]

Live (Thu 10:30pm): http://radiocen.streaming.webboreal.com/radiocen.m3u

01. 旺福 – 有星星的晚上
02. 郭紋泛 – 一個失去記憶的人
03. 假音人 – 阴魂不散
04. 腰 – 不完全果皮箱
05. 顶楼的马戏团 – 你上海了我,还一笑而过
06. 凯比鸟 – 天花板
07. joy trendy sound – 当我成熟了
08. Emily – Trail of you
09. Godot – NO 4
10. Ariane Moffatt – Je veux tout

What are these? A bunch of vinyls from Hong Kong!

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Old records that my aunt gave me

My aunt is visiting from Hong Kong and had to empty her closet at my grandmother’s home. This is how I was passed down these old vinyls from the late 80s, maybe early 90s, period during which stars like Alan Tam, Hacken Lee and, of course, Jacky Cheung and Leslie Cheung were just about starting their career. I was disappointed to find no Faye Wong or Teresa Teng, but I think it’s because the former wasn’t very popular until 1992-ish and that the latter was not so cool for young people considering that she had her career going since the late 1960s.

譚詠麟 - 再見吧!?浪漫

This is Alan Tam 譚詠麟, and I remember listening to his songs when I was 3-5 years old. I especially remembered him because the last character of his name “麟” is a Cantonese homonym of the last character in my Chinese name, “倫”. The other singer I listened to as a toddler was George Lam, otherwise known as the guy with a moustache. Another aunt liked his music — and her husband also sported (and still sports) a similar moustache.

陳百強 - 蒙裡人

Danny Chan 陳百強 is a singer that I did not know about until seeing Hong Kong omnibus film Trivial Matters. In one of the stories, two girls who sang Danny Chan’s songs together at the karaoke take very different paths in life after they both become teenage mothers. Probably one of the reasons I did not hear of him before, aside from being Cantopop-illiterate: he died in 1993.


Then there is Hacken Lee 李克勤. He was very popular in the late 80s and early 90s and, after a slow period of a decade, became very popular again with top-selling hits. My impression is that when I heard of him for the first time in 2002-ish, he looked like an old(er) star with youthful fashion habits.


張學友 - 昨夜夢魂中

Then of course, you have the two that I always confused, Leslie Cheung 張國榮 and Jacky Cheung 張學友. The former committed suicide in 2003 on April’s Fool in a similar way his character in the last movie he ever appeared in was also going to kill himself. The latter is the one I quote from my uncle for having performed in Montreal sometime (a few times?) in the 1990s. Since then, no major Hong Kong star would ever come to Montreal ever again, except to my knowledge for at17 and then Jason Chan, invited by RVision Productions with the financial backing of Yat Lo, the Montreal business person who runs Loch Cellular in Chinatown. Of course, it doesn’t make things easier when a certain Jackie Chan became famous in the West.

2009-07-30 Banana Music 香蕉音樂 (Spécial chiffres)

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Host / Animateur : Cedric
Technique : Christie

Listen: [audio:http://media.montreal1023.net/full/2009/%e7%83%ad%e5%9c%b0%e5%8d%9a%e5%ae%a2200907302230.mp3]

Spécial chiffres / Numbers special

1. 929 – 簡單的方式(海邊版)
2. 831 – 來去夏威夷
3. 22 Cats – He Sucks
4. 22 Cats – New Animals
5. InLove – 十二種命運
6. 方欣浩 – 歡迎我嗎?
7. 1969 – Sweetheart
8. 1969 – Rock With Chinese Characteristics
9. 8mm sky – the sound before christmas
10. 1976 – 嫉妒還是喜歡
11. Malajube – Le Métronome

2009-07-16 Banana Music 香蕉音樂

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Host / Animateur : Cedric
Technique : Lyonciny

Listen (after 23h45): [audio:http://media.montreal1023.net/full/2009/%e7%83%ad%e5%9c%b0%e5%8d%9a%e5%ae%a2200907162230.mp3]

Music lineup / Musiques diffusées

01. 新裤子 New Pants – 你是我的雷蒙斯 You are my Ramones
02. 新裤子 New Pants – 我爱你 I love you
03. 沙子 Shazi – 把它送给你 Offer it to you
04. 星期三旅行 Wednesday Trip – Magic Hours
05. oNEwAY – South of the Cloud
06. 阿飛西雅 Aphasia – 愛的墮落 Love’s Fall
07. 范晓萱 Mavis Fan – You Don’t Trust Me At All
08. 生番 Sangfan – 皆同(街童) All the same
09. Bamboo Star feat Jun Kung – Where Do We Go (Where is Home)
10. AMK – 屋企 Home

L’émission d’aujourd’hui débute avec le groupe pékinois New Pants que j’ai découvert par la compilation du label Modern Sky Chill Bands Out. On poursuit avec deux autres chansons de la même compilation.

On passe à la portion post-rock de l’émission avec OneWay (South of the Cloud), un groupe de Kunming, Yunnan, dans le sud-ouest de la Chine, ainsi que Aphasia, une formation taiwanaise. Voici d’ailleurs une compilation par Neocha d’artistes post-rock chinois. Vous y trouverez un lien pour télécharger toutes les chansons.

On finit l’émission avec Mavis Fan, une chanteuse pop taiwanaise qui ne fait _pas_ dans les belles balades tranquillos, ainsi que du rap de Hong Kong avec SangFan et une chanson créée pour un court métrage qui a gagné le I shot Hong Kong dans sa catégorie cette année.

Musique Banane: Spécial St-Jean chinois (et en retard)

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Host / Animateur : Cedric
Technique : Christie

Listen: [audio:http://media.montreal1023.net/full/2009/%e7%83%ad%e5%9c%b0%e5%8d%9a%e5%ae%a2200907022230.mp3]

Music lineup / Musiques diffusées

1. Mitsou – Les Chinois
2. André – Yolande Wong
3. Sakura and the Quests – Michelle
4. Cheer Chen – Let’s go together to Paris
5. Beau Dommage – Chinatown
6. Chinatown – Pénélope
7. My Little Airport – J’ai peur
8. My Little Airport – Je pense à toi
9. My Little Airport – Lai Chi Kok Park
10. The Marshmallow Kisses – a-la-pa-ti
11. The Marshmallow Kisses – Epilogue French Lesson
12. Les Dots – Dépanneur de Chinois
13. Mara Tremblay – La Chinoise
13b. Mara Tremblay – Grande est la vie
14. 自然卷 Natural Q – C’est la vie
15. 薛凱琪 Fiona Sit Hoi-Kei – Si j’étais Carla

Ce soir, je vous propose un mélange de chansons québécoises avec comme thème “chinois”, et puis des chansons chinoises avec un lien avec le français. C’est drôle à voir comment de chaque bord on aime se rendre exotique. Quand tu as vécu des deux bords musicalement, tu penses franchement que c’est cocasse. En fait, je pense que cette émission est en quelque sorte l’aboutissement de ma quête identitaire musicale…