MusicDish*China Sounds Pod8 – The Many Faces of Chinese Indie Music

This edition of the MusicDish*China Sounds podcast, presented by Metal Postcard Records, features a motley selection of sounds from jazz (Joanna Dong) to indie rock (Pairs), traditional mongolian folk (Hanggai) and Shanghai’s club-thumping sounds (DJ Xuem).

My meeting with Joanna Dong was what you’d call a stroke of faith. It was during Music Matters 2010. Seeking refuge from the superficiality of Lan Kwai Fong, Talent Asia’s Spencer Douglass led me to one of Hong Kong’s coolest ‘hole-the-wall’ establishments called Yumla, playing some of the sweetest electro sounds – more on that encounter someday. Anyway, I find Adam Gerard – an organizer of major indie music event throughout Asia for Tiger Beer – who introduced me to Joanna Dong as “the best jazz singer out of Singapore.” Like Singapore-based singer-songwriter Inch Chua, Joanna Dong has that level of talent to find acceptance amongst a global audience, as illustrated by her single “Originally Afro Blue”.

The pod continues with “Yangpu Qu” by emerging Shanghai duo Pairs – Xiao Zhong & F – who have been getting rave reviews of their live shows. Pairs has played at ‘Trash A Go-Go at Shanghai’s Yuyintang as well as The Underground at Hong Kong’s Rockschool.

When Beijing-based punk rocker Ilchi heard throat singing for the first time, he was determined to investigate his family’s Inner Mongolian heritage. He met two traditional musicians named Hugejiltu and Bagen, and soon Hanggai was born. Devoted to traditional Mongolian songs such as “Drinking Song” featured in this pod, Hanggai’s spacious, undeniably gorgeous music has won it many fans.

The pod closes with an electric minimix by French born DJ Xuem previewing some mixed tracks of the Logo Shanghai compilation, including artists such as Liman, Keewix & Nikkita, Leonard de Leonard and LowKey&Kardinal. DJ Xeum left for Shanghai in 2005 to perform at Luna (Xintiandi), playing drums and live electronic music with the band, Goldfishes. He has since performed alongside Shanghai’s prominent performers as Coco Zhao or Ben Huang (in venues such as JZ Club, CJW, Bar Rouge or Attica) for a variety of concerts, events in Shanghai and around PRC.

By Eric de Fontenay

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