I am a happy girl today. Last night we were at a Chinese restaurant. Behind us, the employees were eating, speaking to each other in their own language, when one of them mentioned Hong Kong. And out of the blue I sat up and remembered something I'd been trying to seek out for a long time.
When I was in college, about 15 years ago, my friend Xia gave me a tape to listen to that she'd brought up from Hong Kong. On the cover, a man had a red scarf over his eyes. She said that his music had been banned in China, and that the album was called "I See Nothing."
The music was awesome, a mix of Chinese folk music and instrumentation with Western music. I listened to the tape over and over, after we graduated and moved on, but soon the tape was in danger of breaking, it was so old and listened-to. I would take it out seldom and play it occasionally, always watching the reels to be sure that I could stop the tape if it started to jam, as it had a few times. But Oh! Where on earth could I get a CD of this excellent music that I could blast everywhere?
So after we ate I asked the people who worked there about the tape. They couldn't give me any information on the singer, though I sang part of "I See Nothing" to them (had to fudge the words of course).
"That sounds like he's Cantonese," the guy said.
Ah! A clue.
So, filled with determination, I went home and started googling. I'd googled this before, with no success. But this time I ended up on Wikipedia looking at Chinese rock. Cantonese pop definitely wasn't this guy's style -- he was loud and fast. But this Northwest Wind style sounded more like what I'd heard on the tape, with its fast tempo, strong bass, and aggressive singing.
And I finally found my man. He's the godfather of Chinese rock, Cui Jian! Except he says that "godfather" makes him feel too old. But still! But I found him on MySpace, and when the window opened one of his latest songs started playing, and I was like, "OMG! That's him! That's the voice!"
I went running down the hall to tell my husband, I was so excited. And then I went cruising all over the internet and finally found the album that Xia had lent to me ages ago, only now it's a CD, and it's actually called "I Have Nothing," and it's on its way here from Hong Kong right now! Or at least in a week!
And then I'll order all the rest of his albums, one at a time.
I LOVE the internet! Love it! Oh, I do.
Here's Cui Jian singing "Fake Monk," which is off that album. Oh, and my husband went on MySpace and totally friended him.