Beijing Beat blog with Mark Godfrey

Beijing Beat

Xiao He Release: Big Night For Beijing Folkies

Jul 2

Written by:
7/2/2009 3:54 AM  RssIcon

CD Launch at D-22 will bring out China's close-knit folk set

I'm looking forward to tomorrow night at D-22: a release party for the latest by Xiao He, one of the most enduring names in Chinese folk and art rock. Less ostentatious and written-up than their indie and punk counterparts, China's folk musicians fall between those who consciously ape westerners like Bob Dylan in their work, and those who mine for influences the native folk singing traditions of rural China, a style that was particularly popular in the early years of the Communist regime which took power in 1949: tales of peasant struggles, these are the stuff of Woody Guthrie but without guitar accompaniment. 

Busker/recording artist Yang Yi, a friend of Xiao He, has turned out tunes that draw much on the local traditions but he also borrows heavily, one of his songs instrumentally a near carbon copy of Dylan's The Times They Are A Changing. His guitar work with Beijing's veteran art rockers Glamorous Pharmacy - which also released an album this year - travels in Europe have made Xiao He far more an avant-gardist - songs like Macerata posted on MySpace sample sheep bleats and horns. Which ought to make tomorrow night's get together at D22 very interesting.


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