Sunday, May 31, 2009

Hong Kong in the 60's

The coolest name ever for a band? Yes, Hong Kong in the 60's are a band from London, comprising of Mei Yau Kan, Christopher Greenberg and Tim Scullion. Mei Yau and Christopher came along to the last Lucky Cat club night and introduced themselves to me. Their sound is electro/indie/soundtrack/60's HK influenced. Their new CD Willow Pattern Songs is out now on Proper Songs.
Check out their website and myspace for audio samples and gig dates.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Hong Kong Mermaids

Found on ebay, lovely. I was always a big Esther Williams fan.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Manga Cross Stitch Book

Writer Helen McCarthy has a new book out next month, the wonderfully original Manga Cross Stitch.
Helen was a guest on my show earlier this year and was very insightful on the subject of live action manga adaptations (we were talking about the Death Note movies and 20th Century Boys). It seems that not only is Helen an expert on manga, anime and Shochu cocktails she's pretty good with a needle and thread too. The book shows that these world's need not be separate - you can stitch a yakuza wielding a bloody samurai sword whilst sipping on a Shochu cocktail and watching My Neighbour Totoro. Sounds like a fun night in to me!
More about Helen McCarthy and the new book here at her web site:
Check out the Facebook page here.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Chinagrass Documentary on Resonance FM Tonight

Monday 18th May
8pm 104.4FM in London or at everywhere.

In tonight's programme I talk to the singer/songwriter Mamer whose debut album Eagle is released today on Real World Records. Mamer is from the Xinjiang province in Western China and sings in his native language of Kazakh. You can hear the folk influences from the countries that surround Mamer's birthplace (Russia, Tibet, Kazakhstan...) in his music – a reminder of the size and diversity of China.

The album Eagle has been produced by English musicians Robin Haller and Matteo Scumaci and I discuss the genre of Chinagrass with them on tonight's programme.
Robin and Matteo also produced Mongolian group Hanggai’s album Introducing Hanggai released last year.

Both Mamer and Hanggai performed in concert at the Union Chapel last Saturday. I was lucky enough to make it to the unforgettable gig. The artists have very different styles - Hanggai are real showmen, bringing more of a party vibe and Mamer connects with the audience on a more emotional melodic level. Both acts were musically outstanding. If you missed the concert, part of the Barbican's Beyond the Wall festival, then you can catch them both in July at WOMAD.


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Tsui Hark Exhibition in Hong Kong

Thanks to Mark Wu's excellent travel blog Mangovine I found out that there is an exhibition covering the work of film maker Tsui Hark on in Hong Kong now. Although I wont actually be able to visit (due to being in the UK and not, unfortunately, about to jet off to HK) I can look at the photos Mark has posted and be envious of him!
The exhibition is entitled A Tribute to Romantic Visions, find out more here:
Trivia: Tsui Hark had a small role in the Michelle Yeoh/Cynthia Rothrock movie Yes, Madam, as a character called Panadol (along with sidekicks Strepsil and Aspirin!). 1980's Slapstick kung fu in jumpsuits and denim. Nice. A million miles away from the stylish epics Tsui Hark directed himself (eg the Once Upon A time in China series) but good fun nonetheless. Tsui Hark is currently working on Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame starring Andy Lau, Bingbing Li, Carina Lau (the lucky Mrs Tony Leung Chiu Wai) and the legendary Sammo Hung Kam Bo.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Terracotta Far East Film Festival

The Prince Charles Cinema in London's glittering West End (handily positioned near my favourite Chinatown restaurant Mr Kong's) presents the Terracotta Far East Film Festival.
The programme runs from 21st - 24th May and features zombies, anime, wuxia martial arts, schoolgirl martial arts, muay thai, Taiwanese drama, Korean noir and Cantopop prince Aaron Kwok. Check out the web site:
Legendary Assassin will be screened on Sat 23rd May and it looks like a good old school martial arts film from Hong Kong. It's directed by Jacky Wu Jing and Li Chung Chi and Jacky also stars. I remember Jacky from the excellent Yuen Wo Ping movie Thai Chi Boxer back in '96. Some great calligraphy with ponytail in that! He was also in the ultimate crazy wuxia epic Zu Warriors from Magic Mountain directed by Tsui Hark. Talking of Tsui Hark, see my next post......

Anna May Wong Must Die! Film Screening + Talk + Music

I'm DJing at this fabulous event on Tuesday 26th May @ The Roxy, Borough High St SE1. 7pm onwards, £4 entry:

Glamour, sex, beauty, fame – Hollywood legend Anna May Wong had it all. She was the most famous Chinese woman in the world during the 1920s and 30s, and yet she struggled to get decent parts while white actors played the juiciest Chinese roles in “yellowface”.

Film critic Jasper Sharp, of the website Midnight Eye, introduces a screening of Piccadilly (1929), her best known British film.

Writer and performer Anna Chen presents an illustrated reorientation of Anna May Wong. Extending her recent BBC Radio 4 profile of the actress, Celestial Star of Piccadilly, Anna reveals how Wong and the Chinese were depicted in films and what they were up against during Yellow Peril fever in this personal appreciation of the world’s first Chinese movie star.

Shanghai sounds from me, Lucky Cat.

Drinks provided by the Akashi Sake Brewery.

Hope to see you there! Facebook event page here.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Mamer - in concert & CD release

Mamer heralds from the Chinese province of Xinjiang but now lives in Beijing. He is a singer/songwriter who sings in his native Kazak in a deep barritone voice. Over the years he has become a fixture on the Beijing folk music circuit. Now he is coming to London to play at the Union Chapel on 16th May as part of the Barbican's Beyond The Wall festival. His new CD Eagle is out on Real World Records on 18th May.
I played a couple of tracks on my Resonance FM show from Eagle; I'm really enjoying listening to the CD. It is quite varied, modern folk music with a range of musical instruments and sounds. At times it is reminiscent of Sa Ding Ding's style. Xinjiang province in China borders many other countries and the majority of people there are not Mandarin speaking Han Chinese. You can hear the folk influences from the countries that surround Mamer's birthplace - Tibet, Mongolia, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Reminding us again what a huge and diverse country China is.
The album has been produced by Robin Haller & Matteo Scumaci.