HONG DOU

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Music Recommendation: alan July 4, 2008

Filed under: Recommendations — misschiu @ 6:03 pm
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Alan Dawa Dolma/ཨ་ལན་ཟླ་བ་སྒྲོལ་མ་/阿兰达瓦卓玛 was born on July 25th, 1987 and raised in Dardo, a Tibetan town located in the Sichuan province of China. (Her family comes from Danba, or Beauty Valley. That’s just to clear things up since most people think she’s actually from there.) At a young age she began to learn how to sing and play instruments such as the chinese violin, erhu. She went on to have a colorful path through music as she graduated from a prestigious music school and performed in various competitions and events.

In 2006, Avex Trax, a Japanese music company known for artists such as Ayumi Hamasaki and Koda Kumi, held auditions around China and took Alan under their wing upon discovering her musical talent. After graduating in 2007, she packed up and moved to Tokyo where she began her professional music career under the name “alan.” She debuted in late 2007 and has since released four Japanese singles, various Chinese tracks, and two digital singles to gain money for China’s earthquake relief.

 

I recommend this new singer because she shows a lot of potential but for now she’s just gradually climbing to the top. She just needs the big break that will set off her career. She sort of reminds me of Ayumi Hamasaki because she has the same high-pitched voice (well, maybe not that high) but the reason that I would listen to alan and not exactly Ayumi is because her voice feels more mature and developed which I would assume is from her years of work in music throughout her childhood.

 

Now, as usual, I’ll give you guys some videos to start you off:

 

 

Video Credits: Himalayas007 @ YouTube

 

Music Recommendation: Lam Truong June 7, 2008

Vietnamese/Cantonese pop aren’t really my styles but I found this song that was really great:

 

“Kiep Ve Sau 3” by Lam Truong

 

The singer is Tieu Lam Truong (just known as “Lam Truong” or “Anh Hai”), and the Cantonese part is his voice too…that is AWESOME. He was born in 1974 and he is married to a woman from Texas (sorry ladies). His family origins are in Jiujau, China. He has a really awesome voice that I’d like to hear more of. I’m a pretty new listener to him so I don’t really know anything else about him.

 

However, I do know that he was present for the Asia Festival of 2007 in Korea. He sang on the same stage as bigs names like Lee Hyori, Golf&Mike, Super Junior, Gigi Leung, A-mei, Vanness Wu, and SG Wannabe. So he must be great to listen to if he’s made it to a stage like that.

 

Well I believe my time will be limited for while. I hope I can write more in the future. In the meantime, try out some of Lam Truong’s music. Happy listening!

 

Video Credit: ndhieu4221986 @ YouTube

 

Music Recommendation: Oscar May 27, 2008

Filed under: Recommendations — misschiu @ 12:07 am
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I don’t listen to much Cantonese music but there are a few that I like, one of which is Oscar Siu. I have a thing for singers that aren’t very well known usually because they’re the talented ones who sing really well but don’t have really good promo.

 

 

I saw that video above, and his live guitar and singing are quite good.

 

I’m actually friends with one of Oscar’s family members and I ran into one of Oscar’s songs on his ipod. I was intrigued and I quite like his voice. So yeah, I’m a little new to him. I don’t know much about him other than that he’s a 20 something year old in Hong Kong who’s been singing for a few years. But compared to other Cantonese singers, he’s quite impressive. Therefore, I recommend him!

 

Picture Credit: on photo

 

Drama Recommendation: Crystal Boys May 3, 2008

 

Also known as, 孽子 (sons of sin). It’s about a teenage boy, named Li Qing (nicknamed “Ah Qing”), with a shattered family who finds himself facing society as a homosexual in 1970s (1960s in the novel) Taiwan. This 20-episode drama is a 2003 adaptation of Pai Hsienyung’s 1983 novel of the same name, and has won six Golden Bell awards. A homosexual himself, Pai has become one of the most groundbreaking writers of his time for his subject matter and modern style of writing. His novel, Crystal Boys, has been translated to French and English, so buy it online if you’re interested after reading this blog entry.

 

I have yet to buy the book, so I can’t recommend it. I’m a little hesitant about buying it because as I mentioned a long time ago, Fabio-loving Westerners have a tendency to make everything look like porn. Look it up if you want to know what I mean. It’s the same reason why I have yet to purchase Lust, Caution. The Hong Kong version doesn’t even have subtitles. Gosh.

 

Anyways, when I first saw clips of the drama, I thought it was a movie. The way it was filmed was just way better than all the Asian dramas I’ve seen. I assume that most dramas are done on low budget because the quality is always such. Not only is the filming quality work, but the acting is wonderful too. It features a cast of now well-known Taiwanese film actors such as Tony Yang and Chin King from 2004 gay comedy film Formula 17 and Joseph Chang from the 2006 film Eternal Summer.

 

The opening of the drama shows Ah Qing’s father beating him and throwing him out of the house. As Ah Qing runs away, his father watches him tearfully. It’s a very short and simple scene but I seem to have trouble watching this because I feel this strong, almost overwhelming sympathy for both characters. But I think that’s the beauty of this series. They do not over dramatize the emotionally heavy scenes as most dramas where they show five minutes of crying to wring tears out of the audience.

 

With beautifully captured scenes, talented cast members, and a beautiful soundtrack, it’s really worth the watch. Unfortunately, it’s not available with subtitles right now. Everybody’s too busy gawking over stupid shoujo dramas with prissy men and dolled up girls. Maybe I’ll do summaries or even try noob subtitling if people ever get interested (maybe someone can help me and we can start a project haha).

 

Here is a clip to start you off. Don’t worry, it has no “offensive” content. I just want you to get an idea of how the drama is shot and how the acting is done in hopes that it will appeal to you. If you’re convinced by my blog and/or the clip, you can watch the drama here: http://www.tudou.com/playlist/id/2567277/

 

 

Disclaimer: It is recommended that you can understand Mandarin to some extent. It may also help to be able to read Traditional Chinese as a couple secondary and minor characters speak only in Taiwanese. Also, I would like to remind you that this drama is about homosexuality. If you find that offensive, I do insist that you watch it but it is up to you.

 

Source: Wikipedia

Photo source: on photo

Video source: redraining @ YouTube

 

Music Recommendation: Super Junior M April 8, 2008

Filed under: Recommendations — misschiu @ 9:44 pm
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Rumors of a Super Junior China division started in late 2007 after the guest appearance of Chinese-Canadian violinist and dancer, Henry Lau, in Super Junior’s music video Don’t Don. SM and Henry received a lot of backlash because of the rumors. Fans conducted several protests and harassed Henry on stage. (And yes,it is harassment no matter how much you deny it. Freedom of speech is fine, but show the guy some respect because he never wronged you.)

When March 2008 came around, Super Junior China’s debut was confirmed and it was renamed Super Junior M so that it would not limit itself just to China. Another member was added named Zhou Mi, a native Chinese talented in singing and MCing. On March 4th, a Sohu blog was opened to the public and each day a new member or two was revealed with a short promotional video and a photo. The official lineup revealed itself to be: Han Geng (leader), Choi Siwon, Lee Donghae, Cho Kyuhyun, Kim Ryeowook, Zhou Mi, and Henry Lau.

On March 8th, Sohu released the group’s first music video, the Chinese remake of “U.” The video showed a more mature image than the original. The video consisted of their trademark hip thrusts and a female lead who’s image contrasted that of innocently-faced Yoona (from the original MV).

Here is an HQ YouTube video without the Sohu logo:

(more…)

 

Music Recommendation: Mayday March 30, 2008

Filed under: Recommendations — misschiu @ 5:11 pm
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n846695690_2348135_9496.jpgAlso known as 五 月天 (literally meaning “a day in may”), Mayday is one of the most popular alternative rock bands in Taiwan and beyond. The band has been active since 1997 and have been praised as “the zeitgeist of Taiwanese youth” because its music focuses on themes like dreams, love, loneliness, and growing up. Their goal is to be the Chinese version of The Beatles, and I say that they’re pretty close.

Chenzi actually isn’t too into them because she thinks their name is stupid. Boo!

Mayday started out as guitar-loving high school students. Vocalist Ashin, dubbed the “Prince of Our Hearts,” along with Monster, the guitarist, and a former drummer named Youda started a band called So Band. Masa, Stone, and Guanyou joined later. As they went through college, they performed in various pubs and, eventually, the Formoz Festival where they coined their name Mayday, which is Masa’s online name. When they sent out demo tapes of their music, Rock Records executive Lee Zong Sheng saw them as “the ones who would usher in the sound of the future” and gave them a record deal.

Their first hit was 志明與春嬌 (Peter and Mary) , which was sung in their native Taiwanese dialect. Since then, they have only flourished in the Asian music industry, despite setbacks such as military duty. Up until now, they have performed on stages around the world and written music for various famous artists.

Now most importantly, why do I like them? They give me the same feeling I get when I listen to David Tao (go back to my first recommendation and check him out!). I love their lyrics because, I can relate to them. They deal with feelings all of us adults-to-be face. Their lyrics are poetic but have simple meanings, and Ashin’s simple voice and boyish charm only complement them. I also feel that they go beyond the boundaries of performer and audience. From listening to their music, I sense their personalities and I feel close to them.

Here is the video of their first hit, Peter and Mary:


Here’s a website with translations for every album up until now. Generally, I don’t like reading through translations, but you learn a lot about what goes through Ashin‘s head when you read them. It’s really intriguing, so even if you understand Mandarin or Taiwanese, you should take a look at that website to get a taste of Taiwanese culture and Ashin’s sense of humor. For example, the translator realized that Ashin occassionally puts off that he sucks at math, because whenever the lyrics involve numbers, he just craps it up and leaves it the way it is.

I would also like to say, they are amazing live. This is why I love rock music, because it sounds great when it’s performed live. As you know from the picture, they’re touring this year. They’ve toured in Japan, China, Taiwan, Canada, and etc before, so keep your eyes open!!

Credit: Wikipedia, http://www.onedayinmay.net/
Video Credit: mcorange @ YouTube

Picture Credit: Your face…actually, I don’t know.

 

Music Recommendation: Jones Shi Kang Jun March 29, 2008

Filed under: Recommendations — misschiu @ 1:25 pm
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On a January 19th, 1979 (I think), Weng Jun Wei was born in Singapore. He grew up to study design and open up an small interior design company with his friends. He was also a frequent singer at a local KTV until a music producer discovered him. He decided to leave to his designing career, girlfriend, and name behind to pursue singing.

He became british rock-influenced singer, Jones Shi Kang Jun. He released one album titled “Firelight” in 2005. Unfortunately, pop and r&b dominate the Mandarin music industry and Jones lost the newcomer award to Sly. Since then, he has been giving singing lessons in Singapore, and occasionally performs his songs and other famous songs on stage.

I truly love Jones Shi’s music because he has a lovely voice that you can’t find often in Mandarin music. Fans know him for his beautiful falsettos that even Leehom Wang has praised. Chenzi loves his music ’cause his album consists of straightforward break up songs (except for the cover song “Firelight” which is more of a love song).

If you’re interested, I’m sorry, his music is really difficult to find at this point. You can talk to me and I can tell you good places to listen to his music. You could maybe try an MP3 search on Baidu (I can teach you if you want but I’m not so sure if it works). You can also seach “Jones Shi,” “Shi Kang Jun,” or his name in Chinese characters on YouTube to find good videos. All his music videos are on YouTube as well as tv programs he’s been on and a few live performances shot for tv and by fans.

Here are a couple videos to get you started:

Leng Dong/Frozen music video.

It’s one of my favorite songs on his album. A couple of his music videos feature drawings that I assume he drew because he’s also known to be a talented artist.

His covers of Better Man by Robbie Williams, Xin Bu Liao Qing by Wan Fang, and Hong Dou/Red Bean by Faye Wong at one of his live performances.

If you’ve read one of my previous entries, I can only respect a singer if he or she can give a good live performance.

Also check out his songs 黑夜過後/Hei Ye Guo Hou/After Tonight and 火光/Huo Guang/Firelight. The music for After Tonight was written by Jones himself and is one of his most highest praised songs. His album cover song, Firelight, displays his ability to do falsettos.

I really hope you guys give him a listen because this man is highly underrated. If you’re ever in Singapore or China, you might be lucky enough to see him performing at local concerts and charity events. So…happy listening!

Picture Credit: jones.disorder-suite.net (Not Yet Crazy: A Jones Shi English-language fansite)
Video Credit: SNOWWHITE, matsufuyu @ YouTube