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As I mentioned here, a few days back, the May, National Day holiday has become synonymous with music festivals throughout China. Unbeknownst to me at the time, was that Chongqing has jumped on the bandwagon with the first ever Ancient Town Music Festival.
From Friday night through Monday, the 16 Bystreet Music Club in Ciqikou will play host to a handful of underground bands and DJs of varying styles. Though most of the artist performing are little known to Chinese and foreigners alike, there are a few whom we recommend. Namely, CQSCENE favorites The Deep Green Sea, local indie rockers Narrenschiff(acoustic set), Chongqing's only blues band The Lucky Peace, and the Jolly Fellow Ukelele Band.
SIngle day tickets are 50 RMB, and a 4 day pass is 120RMB. Music starts at 20:30 on Friday night, and 16:00 Saturday-Monday. You can view the full schedule(in Chinese) here, and a very rough map of the location here. For any questions or concerns please feel free to give me a call 13608367114, or you can call the venue directly at
Owners of Iphones, Ipads, and Ipod touches rejoice! For getting around Chongqing has never been easier. Over the past couple of years "Taxi-Books" have been floating around Chongqing, allowing anyone with a purse, or the willingness to walk around with an extra cigarette-pack sized bulge in their pocket, to get to a number of popular destinations with relative ease (open taxi-book, find desired location, show taxi driver). However, as fashion trends have begun to move toward slimmer fitting pants, and away from the once fashionable man purse, that extra bulge has become not only uncomfortable, but inconvenient, and getting around town usually results to struggling to give directions in broken chinese, or calling/texting your one local friend to have them deal with the Chongqinghua slurring cabi.
Struggle no longer my friends, as a savior is upon us... well, some of us(unfortunately not me). In true Darwinian fashion, the fine folks behind the aforementioned Taxi-Book, have got with the times and created the Chongqing Taxi-Book application(available here). Not only does "Chongqing Taxi-Book - The App." have over 300 locations for you to choose from, broken down into 10 separate categories, from Nightlife + Entertainment, to Healthcare + Education, but it also offers text-speech pronunciation of said locations(incase your cab driver can't read. trust me, it happens), and a 12,000 word english-chinese dictionary. So now you can keep the skinny jeans, forget the man-purse, and still get where you need to go! And for a few faithful readers, you can do so for free...
***CQSCENE.COM and Taxi-Book are giving away free downloads of Chongqing Taxi-Book - The App. to the first 3 people to leave a comment, telling us your favorite destination in Chongqing.***
This Saturday at CiCi Park will be the second installment of What the Funk?, a party organized by local Frenchman/DJ The Kalakuta Kid. We had a few words with out favorite purveyor of eclectic beats prior to what promises to be a funk-filled...soirée.
CQSCENE: First off, can you tell us who the Kalakuta Kid is?
The whole story of Kalakuta Kid is told on my Douban page but I'll make it straight to the point for this interview. Kalakuta Kid is the dj name I chose in respectful memory of "The Black President" - Barack Obama ?!- NO! Fela Kuti, the nigerian saxophonist, godfather of Afrobeat and one of the most fascinating character I've read about (see the story of Kalakuta Republic). Using Kalakuta and Kid together is both a mark of respect and irony because some may think about Kid Koala... and they souldn't...
CQSCENE: How long been in CQ? Has CQ had an influence on your DJing style?
I've been living here for one year and a half now. To make a not so long story short, I've been observing that Chongqing music scene was more or less divided in three main poles: the electronic scene- promoted by Cici Park-, the punk-rock scene -promoted by Nuts Club-, and the mainsteam soup in mainstreams clubs.
I guess i have been more influenced by electro music since I arrived in Chongqing... I hope so !
CQSCENE: In your opinion, what does CQ need, that it doesn't already have?
It needs more adventurous people.Daring people to make it not only an economic but also a cultural lighthouse. If you considere the size of the "monster", Chongqing definitely lack of cultural infrastructures.It needs a decent french restaurant too !
CQSCENE: What are your musical influences, and how would u describe your DJ style?
I've been mainly influenced by african, african-american and caribbean musical expressions.I actually grew up listening strictly to classic hip hop. Hip hop was the window to a fantastic musical journey. It brigded the gap to jazz, blues, soul and funk.
In parallel I had an intense passion for Jamaican music, afrobeat came to me, ethiojazz too...
So on a normal basis, when I'm mixing, I try to make all those influences sit around at the same table and have a civilized conversation! I would finally describe it as a grooving melting pot ...or salad bowl !
CQSCENE: And finally, what the Funk?I'd like to know too... Godfathers knows...be @Cici satruday night, you might find an anwer.
What the Funk?, this Saturday, 4/16 @ CiCi Park. 22:00-late.
In two recent news reports, one Chongqing school has put an end to Tai-Chi, while another is making an attempt to end touching.
This little article reports that Duping elementary school in CQ municipality, has traded in the tradition of teaching tai-chi exercises to it's students during recess, for something a bit more modern. Instead of learning how to relax, and do things like, channel their 'chi' energy, the kids will now be taught how to grab their crotch, and thrust their pelvis, just like Michael Jackson.
And purveyors of 'truthiness,' The Global Times reports here, that Chongqing University of Posts & Telecommunications, has assembled a group of student volunteers to crack-down on students' "uncivilized behavior," which includes littering, trampling grassy areas, and forms of touching such as kissing and hugging.
Is it just me, or should the kids being taught to emulate MJ, also be the ones who are taught not to inappropriately touch?
indie/noise-pop band Hedgehog
I've been planning on writing this since early March when I first saw this month's event calendar at Nuts Club. It is rare that I get genuinely excited for shows(concerts) since moving to Chongqing, and a weekend full of excitable performances is near unheard of. For over a month I've been thinking about what to say, and how to convince the faithful few of you to get off your asses and check out some of the best bands China has to offer. And for over a month I have put it off, knowing that more often than not, my words fall on empty ears, and yet another night(or in this case 3) will pass, and great talents will go unheard. Until now, roughly 3 hours before the weekend's live music extravaganza kicks off, and the guilt of not sharing my knowledge of said talents is settling in. I know that regardless of what I say, it doesn't really matter. You may read this, and think, "oh cool, there actually is something exciting happening on Chongqing for once. Maybe I'll go see what this 'Nuts Club' is all about." But chances are, you won't. Despite the fact that China's most revered indie-pop band, and participants in last fall's prestigious CMJ music week in New York CIty, Hedgehog will be playing tonight, you'll probably stick to the same old song and dance, be it Cotton club, The Harp, KTV, 88, or any of a number of the monotonous nightlife options this cits has to offer. And Hedgehog, is just the tip of the iceberg, for Saturday and Sunday's bands are easily the most popular of China's indie contingency.
garage/dance rock band QSBS
Saturday brings the hottest ticket in the country to our fog filled city, in the form of Queen Sea Big Shark. Playing to sold out crowds of foreigners and locals alike, and fresh off a showing at Austin's South by Southwest(SXSW) music festival, this garage/dance rock outfit's reputation for high-energy, charismatic live performances has been on the up and up for the past couple of years, and is showing no signs of slowing up. Being that this is their first showing in Chongqing, I expect the heads to be out in full force, dancing from the first note on through the encore.
Mongolian folk-rockers Hanggai
And though QSBS is the hottest thing this side of the pacific, Sunday's act, Mogolian folk-rockers Hanggai, are no slouch. Their blend of traditional Mongolian music, including the infamous throat singing, played in a rock & roll(dare I say punk?) structure, has gained them praise around the world. Pitchfork.com, the website responsible for making Rolling Stone magazine all but obsolete, gave their album a rating of 8.0, better than both Radiohead's latest album and Jay-Z's greatest hits.
Granted, live music is not for everyone, and even if it is your thing, maybe the styles of the three bands presented aren't up your alley. That being said, I've heard the ole, "there's nothing interesting going on in Chongqing," and "this city is soooo boring," more times than I'd care to, and if you're one of those people, and you fail to give these up and coming bands the slightest of chances, consider this a back handed bitch slap in your face.