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LOG - 28

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27 January 2007 - Kioku (Wynn Yamami -taiko/perc.; Ali Sakkal -sax/perc.; Chris Ariza -laptop), Red Room, Baltimore

10 February - Edge (Jason Kao Hwang -violin; Taylor Ho Bynum -horns; Andrew Drury -perc.; Ken Filiano -bass), An die Musik, Baltimore

31 March - Music of Japan Today symposium, UMBC, Baltimore, MD

5-7 April - Asian American studies conference, Grand Central Hyatt, NY

2 May - Kevin So, Austin Grill, Baltimore... The evening was hosted by local singer/songwriter Bob Sima and included Freddie Long from Frederick County.
The great thing about weeknight gigs is that the audience will be small... in fact, for the second set, I was the only one sitting there. A drunk gal came by and started pestering the musicians to play "The Joker" by Steve Miller or "Freebird." I was curious how they would handle that, 'cause I figure it's a regular occupational hazard for a musician in a club or restaurant setting.

27 May - Jannie Lo, An die Musik, Baltimore

20 June - Lenka Dusilova, DC9, Wash.,D.C. (you can click on a picture to see it bigger)
She's one of the best known singer/songwriters in the Czech Republic.
I've been thinking about visiting the place... so I thought what better way to get a feel for Czech culture than to see one of their best known musicians.
Of late, it seems that she's spent some time living in the Bay area. She's written songs, in English, based on or during that time.
During her performance, this evening, she interspersed them with songs written in Czech. Even though I don't understand Czech, I liked them better than her English-language songs. They were crisper; they had a snap to them. The rhythms and melodies were more interesting.

15 July - Jason Kao Hwang, Sangha, Takoma Park, MD

21 July - Whartscape, Baltimore, MD

27 July - Conquest for Death and Breakfast, Charm City Space, Baltimore... main reason for attending was to meet Alex Yeung of CfD. His main band is called Say Bok Gwai... also met Devon, lead singer for CfD. (He's from Emeryville, Calif.)... talked to some of the members of Breakfast, a band from Japan, who've been touring with CfD. Both bands are of the hardcore / thrash variety... Also met DJ Breakfast. I think he might've said that he's from Annapolis. He's been spinning in DC.

17 August - Heard on the radio that famous jazz drummer, Max Roach, had died. You can find a '99 picture of him here. He's in the second picture. It was taken in the dressing room, after a concert at the Library of Congress.
  You can see him towering over everyone. No one is mobbing him, though. Maybe some of the folks, at that moment, weren't into jazz or jazz history. Nonetheless, he did receive attention from others.
But no one could tell him what happened at the night's boxing match. Apparently, he was a fight fan, and wanted to know who had won a prize fight somewhere in the country that evening.

13 Sep - ChthoniC press conference, National Press Club, Washington, DC... It was a good event. The press asked a lotta good questions about the band's 2-month touring experience in the U.S. (and Canada) and their campaign to promote Taiwan's entry into the United Nations.
ChthoniC is an accomplished black metal band from Taiwan that's been around since '95. They got support from the Taiwanese government to tour and campaign on behalf of the government. Most of their North American gigs have been through participation in this past summer's Ozzfest tour of metal bands.
Back to the press conference... the leader of the band, Freddy Lin, answered almost all the questions. Among many things, we learned that:
- CthoniC has gotten support from other bands in Ozzfest, who'd join Freddy in cursing at China and the UN (i.e., "Fuck China!" "Fuck the UN!")
- Online detractors from China who know little about black metal rock are easily detected because they tend to misspell names of famous black metal bands (e.g., "Cradle of Fifth" instead of Cradle of Filth)
- ChthoniC got support (food and rides) from Taiwanese Americans. Members of that ethnic community (some of whom were decades older than the band) have attended gigs, waving flags and maps. Some have even ventured into the mosh pits and got hurt.
- it took only 2 days to write the song, UNlimited Taiwan. Usually it takes the band weeks to write a song.

The pictures, below, of the press conference show the band (minus the drummer) and the owner of the rock club they were to play that evening.

  When I first heard about this campaign, I thought that it was a bit crazy. Why target metal rock fans? But Freddy said that during the tour, he's been interviewed a hundred times, sometimes several times a day. I guess this kind of press attention is normally reserved for superstars or top celebrities. The political hook has definitely paid off, in terms of press coverage. The DC press conference was packed. (Of course, you'd expect that given the subject matter and DC's concentration of foreign and foreign language news media.) The Washington Post and Los Angeles Times have run lengthy articles on the band, tour, and campaign.
Afterwards, it occurred to me that ChthoniC are not the first Taiwanese to inject politics into popular music. Some would certainly point to the social commentary of songs by singer/songwriter Luo Da You,.
Here's a picture of him at an awards ceremony in DC (1990?) after a short North American tour with other artists, mostly from HK. They were giving concerts to raise money for some cause related to the student protest and massacre at Tian An Men Square in Beijing.

15 Sep - Peelander-Z, Ottobar, Baltimore, MD... this band excels in eliciting audience participation...

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