How Does An Old British Folk Tune Find Its Way To China? Perhaps Through Simon And Garfunkel

Simon and Garfunkel
Recently I received an email and link from a Chinese friend who wanted to share her love of what she called “traditional Chinese whistling music.” This is indeed melodic whistling music. But if you’re old and foreign enough, you may recall “Are You Going to Scarborough Fair?,” popularized in the late ’60s by the US folk duo Simon and... Read more »

The Sound Stage: China’s Radiohead If Radiohead Played The Blues?

16 Minutes featured image
We're fans of music here, so when Jonathan Alpart's latest episode of The Sound Stage on CRI found a band that describes itself as "Radiohead if they played the blues," we had to check it out. What do you think? 16 Minutes is the outfit. They ain't Radiohead, but the moral here is: aim high. Maybe you'll find yourself compared to Coldplay.

Cui Jian To Play Hunan Satellite New Year’s Eve Gala, Representatives Deny Duet With PSY

Cui Jian
While CCTV insists on appealing to the largest demographic and sucking, we’d like to remind everyone that Hunan Satellite TV has decided to take a chance on mainland rock’s alpha and omega, Cui Jian, to perform on its New Year’s “Mango” Gala on February 4 (7:30 pm). Rumors have been flying in the press that Cui would “likely not be playing his famous... Read more »

“Censorship You Motherfucker Bitch,” Because Seriously, Fuck Censorship

Censorship video featured image
China Digital Times brings us this rap video by Gao Yuan, featuring cosplay, martial arts, and English subtitles… and the line “Go censor your own motherfucker ass.” Via CDT: Artist Gao Yuan has produced a video based on the song “Nunchaku” by Taiwanese singer Zhou Jielun (Jay Chou), rewriting the lyrics to curse government censorship.

Sir Elton John In Beijing, Reviewed (Newsflash: He’s Old)

Elton John concert in Beijing featured image
Still a legend, but Sir Elton John was looking slightly less fabulous than usual Sunday night despite his electric blue glittery jacket and matching glasses. This was my first major concert in China, so I was prepared for the unexpected. After all these years, I wondered if he'd still have it. I wondered how Chinese crowds would respond to such a legend, and I really wondered if he was going to play his Lion King stuff. I'll be honest, I completely, unashamedly love the Lion King soundtrack.

A “Gangsta Rap” About China’s Dynasties

I’m not going to say this is good, but you know, modern rap has lowered our expectations. Anyway, here’s someone’s high school advanced placement project, subject: Chinese history. Explicit lyrics, of course, if you didn’t get that from the “gangsta rap” part of the title. Right, and it’s also racially charged — but you probably... Read more »

Your National Day Musical Interlude: Paul Robeson Sings The Chinese National Anthem

Paul Robeson Chinese national anthem
In 1949, civil rights activist, professional football player, and stage actor Paul Robeson -- a man of many talents, one would say -- toured Europe amid controversy over his political leanings (in one word: left). During this trip, Robeson, a friend of China whose father was a runaway slave, gave a rather famous rendition of "March of the Volunteers," a song that begins, "Arise! All those who don't want to be slaves!"

This Busker Drums To His Own Beat

This Busker Drums To His Own Beat
We've seen roadside buskers -- even drummers -- aplenty, but few are as impressive as this young man, identity unknown, who uses pots, pans and buckets to create music. This was posted on the Sina Weibo of @Ghost190 on Monday.

Ain’t No Sunshine When Xi’s Gone: The Quest To Find China’s Future President

Is Xi Jinping in Paradise City?
Presumptive Chinese president Xi Jinping has gone missing. He cancelled high-level meetings with Hillary Clinton and Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong last week, and HOLY CRAP FREAK OFF PANTS OFF. Normally rational media organizations such as the Associated bleepin’ Press have published sentences such as, “More dramatically, the U.S.-based website Boxun.com cited an unidentified source inside Zhongnanhai as saying... Read more »

Some Asshole Poured Beer On Residence A’s Lead Singer In The Middle Of An Awesome Performance At 2 Kolegas On Saturday

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The Beijinger's New Festival Showcase at 2 Kolegas on Saturday mostly proved to be your standard gathering of drunken expats, except it produced one hell of a musical highlight: Residence A, a Beijing staple we featured in an Outro earlier this month, giving what I thought was the performance of the night around 8:30 pm. Reasonable music fans will disagree, and I admit I didn't catch every act, but the energy was noticeably different with these guys on stage, to say nothing of musical phrasing and general ability.

Too Good To Be True? Watch This Supposed Four-Year-Old On The Piano

Watch This Supposed Four-Year-Old On The Piano featured image
The website Godvine got itself a viral video recently, called "4 Year Old Boy Plays Piano Better Than Any Master - Wow," but left no information about it. Can you blame anyone for being a bit a skeptical? But this looks real to our eyes. Maybe the boy is actually older than four, but we'd just be nitpicking there. If he's playing even half those keys, I daresay he has a promising career in music in front of him. Alicia, who found this on Facebook, tells us that the father says at the very beginning in Cantonese, "Play it again..."

This: PSY’s Viral Video, Gangnam Style, Remade With Korean Girl Group 4minute’s Hyuna

Remember when Korean rapper PSY made the video for “Gangnam Style” and was thusly described in a Time headline as having the “best invisible horse-riding rap video” of the week? If you haven’t seen it yet, go here and watch (YouTube and Youku versions available). This post really was an excuse for you to go watch... Read more »

Hong Kong Singer Eason Chan Risks Mainland Reputation With “Anti-Locust” Song

Eason Chan Risks Mainland Reputation With “Anti-Locust” Song featured image
Eason Chan was never cut in the same mold as other Canto- and Mandopop stars who churn out anodyne, over-produced songs with mass appeal. He wasn't exactly a rebel, but part of his popularity lie in the fact that he was unique, with songs that at least hinted at deeper meaning. Time called his album U87, released in 2005, "a bridge between past and future, showing off a rawness rarely found in Chinese pop."

Franz Nicolay Of The Hold Steady Fame Delivers Memorable Performance At Yugong Yishan

Franz Nicolay Yugongyishan featured image
Allow me to categorize, in an admittedly clumsy manner, the options expats have for international music in Beijing: * Foreign bands, usually rather amateurish, that live in China. * Past-their-prime bands or solo acts that have little more than nostalgia on their side (think Ian Brown or any individual Ramone). * Super big-pop acts that no one really likes (Lil' John, Akon). * Up-and-coming bands that may eventually make it big, or may suck rather hard (Common, Owl City). For music lovers, that's not much to look forward to, so it's incumbent upon us to take chances. I hit the jackpot last night at Yugong Yishan.

Man Atop Cow Delivers Perfect Rendition Of Justin Bieber’s “Baby”

Chinese man riding cow delivers perfect rendition of Bieber's Baby
BJC contributor Alicia found this just now, and it's one of those stunning works of art that makes you want to hug the Internet. It's a man atop a cow singing Justin Bieber's "Baby." The original video, titled "I am legendary, art dream," is the only work that appears under Youku user w451119777’s page. Apparently it was published two months ago and viewed 1,830 times, a relatively small amount for such a heroic effort.