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I am your stalwart African brother
September 24, 2011 9:29 PM   Subscribe


 
When he does his sideways-marching dance, grinning and looking at the camera, I can't stop thinking of Dora the Explorer.
posted by bicyclefish at 9:57 PM on September 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


*facepalm*

(And man, he has better putonghua pronunciation than Huang Ying in that duet clip.)
posted by kmz at 10:07 PM on September 24, 2011


from post: “Red Song King Hao Di (Good Brother) sings ‘Without the Communist Party There Would Be No New China’, ‘The Words of Chairman Mao are Memorized by Heart’, and ‘Lake Water’.”

... better known as "Lake Water (Would Not Be Wet If Not For The Glorious Memory Of Chairman Mao)."
posted by koeselitz at 10:11 PM on September 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Sadly, it was later revealed that the songs were actually sung by a much uglier little girl, and he was only lip-synching.
posted by twoleftfeet at 10:12 PM on September 24, 2011 [6 favorites]


Um... what?
posted by Yakuman at 10:13 PM on September 24, 2011


Maybe some background would be helpful. This guy is a Nigerian who sang during the Chinese Communist Party's 90th anniversary celebration (that's in the "info and lyrics" link). Also: Nigerian is China's new communist song star.
posted by twoleftfeet at 10:23 PM on September 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'd heard about China in Africa but this is possibly the best role reversal yet !
posted by infini at 10:29 PM on September 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


You can rap commie songs too, and where better to do it than the people's glorious run down industrial park?
posted by Winnemac at 10:54 PM on September 24, 2011


I'd heard about China in Africa but this is possibly the best role reversal yet !

I'm not really sure I'd call unironic regurgitation of Maoist propaganda all that awesome, but that's just me.
posted by kmz at 11:00 PM on September 24, 2011


Not that these are particularly good examples, but communist China sure beats the shit out of capitalist China when it comes to music.
posted by klue at 11:15 PM on September 24, 2011


"communist China sure beats the shit out of capitalist China when it comes to music"

Absolutely! During the good old days of the Cultural Revolution, for instance, anyone who played or even listened to western classical music risked persecution, imprisonment or death and 'pop music' simply didn't exist but the masses could rock out to "Sailing the Seas Depends on the Helmsman" and "The Force at the Core Leading Our Cause" as much as they liked in between getting beaten to death by the Red Guard. These days you can get locked up for denouncing it or supporting it, so I suppose that's progress of a kind.
posted by joannemullen at 11:47 PM on September 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


unironic regurgitation of Maoist propaganda

Well, I'm sure that all those highways, schools and hospitals being built in return for resources isn't very ironic either...
posted by infini at 2:04 AM on September 25, 2011


The least fun version of Papa-Oom-Mow-Mow. What with the Father-complex and the Communism, and the Oom-Mao-Mao.
posted by twoleftfeet at 2:33 AM on September 25, 2011


He's a latter day Paul Robeson
posted by Renoroc at 4:28 AM on September 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Not sure I entirely agree with klue, as there's some interesting music-making today, though in terms of the mainstream you could make a good case for older being better. But joannemullen is reductionist to the extreme; the collective period is usually taken as running from 1949 to 1978, and saw investment and involvement in the arts on a greater scale than anything proceeding AFAIK. You shouldn't reduce China's epic 20th century to talking points.
It's true there was persecution of classical music and its practitioners during the early period of the Cultural Revolution (some comment and memoirs in Chinese here; several suicides of musicians and composers are noted), but even then it was also a time when you did see far-reaching developments in musical and other artistic and literary creation. It might even be called a foreshadowing of 'pop', given the widespread participation outside the old elites, among 'peasants and workers'.
The Red Guard movement was over by 1968 (many died in the suppression by the PLA; they constitute the overwhelming majority of victims of violence during the CR), and then you had rustication, urban youth 'sent down' to the countryside. That first article I linked quotes the composer Chen Yi, who was one of those young people:
说实话,我是下乡以后才找到我的根和我的祖国的。也正是从那个时候,我开始真正理解地球上那些最朴实的人们,并认识到教育和文明的重要性。我学会了怎么克服困难,怎么在政治压力下忍受愤怒、焦虑、羞辱,怎么在个人关系和精神层面上与教育程度不高的农民接近,怎么与他们分享我的感情和想法,怎么能够学会充满希望、宽厚待人、顽强生存,怎么能够保持乐观向上、坚强不屈、自主独立,怎么能够为社会大多数人的利益而努力工作。我在农村里也找到了自己的语言,发现自己的母语就是农民的语言。但是当我把这个语言转换成音乐后,发现这与我每天练的曲子并不相同。正因为如此,我必须强化我的学习深度和广度,以求找到一种途径,能够在我的音乐中真正融合西方和东方的音乐,并且能够很好地表达我自己
To be honest, it was only after I was sent down to the countryside that I found my roots and my mother country. And it was from just this period of time that I began to truly understand those people who are the most simple and honest in our world, and when I became aware of the importance of culture and civilisation. I learned how to overcome hardships; how to bear up to anger, anxiety and humiliation under political pressure; how to become closer to peasants with lower levels of education than my own in terms of both individual relationships and on a spiritual level, how to share with them my thoughts and feelings; how to learn to live on stubbornly, full of hope and treating others generously; how to stay positive, steadfast and independent; how to work for the benefit of the great majority of people in society. It was also in the countryside where I found my own language, where I realised that my mother tongue was the language of the peasants. But when I took this language and turned it into music, I discovered it was something different to the tunes I practised every day. This is why I have to intensify the depth and breadth of how I study, with a view to finding a path whereby I will be able to truly blend East and West in my music and be able to properly express myself.
I've met a lot of people who came through those times, and read a whole lot of memoirs and historical accounts. The lived experience and legacy of even what seem like the darkest days are never so straightforward as simplistic versions of Chinese people's experience would have you believe (which is not to deny the horrendous shit that did happen).
posted by Abiezer at 4:38 AM on September 25, 2011 [8 favorites]


And having got the earnestness out the way and watched a few vids of the lad, he's got a decent set of pipes but does seem to be in the recent tradition of 'talking dog' foreign performers on telly here - not so much what you say/sing, more the fact you can do it at all.
posted by Abiezer at 4:47 AM on September 25, 2011


This one has cross-talk superstar Guo Degang starting off his interview with Hao Di with a racist joke (3.30-odd in). Arsehole.
posted by Abiezer at 4:50 AM on September 25, 2011


The slogan behind the title of the first song was the subject of a recent Language Log post.
posted by gubo at 5:49 AM on September 25, 2011


He ain't the funkiest Nigerian ever lived, but he's almost certainly the funkiest Nigerian in China singing in Chinese.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:49 AM on September 25, 2011


But it's pretty cool to see him nailing the melodies better than some of the folks who test him in that 'working the crowd' clip. Guy knows his Chinese songs!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:56 AM on September 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


I've met a lot of people who came through those times, and read a whole lot of memoirs and historical accounts. The lived experience and legacy of even what seem like the darkest days are never so straightforward as simplistic versions of Chinese people's experience would have you believe (which is not to deny the horrendous shit that did happen).

Sure, survival through dark periods can definitely make people tougher. What doesn't kill you, etc etc. I wouldn't put that in the plus column for the CCP. And of course those you meet and those writing memoirs and the ones who actually survived (and thrived to at least some extant). And even among those (like my parents and aunts and uncles) what I hear about more is how they lost years of schooling in the prime of their lives. Not to mention the friends they saw die, their permanent physical injuries, etc.

The Crusades were responsible for Europe's cultural flowering, but I don't think anybody calls the Crusades a good thing. (Outside of right-wing whackjobs, at least.)
posted by kmz at 11:09 AM on September 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


This one has cross-talk superstar Guo Degang starting off his interview with Hao Di with a racist joke (3.30-odd in). Arsehole.

Ick. At least Hao Di calls him out on it.
posted by kmz at 11:09 AM on September 25, 2011


kmz - I don't think it says anything good about the CCP either, but it does say some good things (alongside all the bad) about what ordinary Chinese people might do in extraordinary times.
To give one example, I worked for a couple of years out in the remote countryside and would spend nights sat round the fire hearing all sorts, including how the villagers took the opportunity of the CR era slogans to remove the bureaucrats who'd starved them during the Great Leap and elect a genuinely representative committee. I've certainly heard of villages where farcical 'bad class element' categories were used to prosecute personal rivalries, but also various other stories of how the period was used to redress the relentless urban bias of post-49 policy (the late CR was the period when large numbers of rural girls got to go to high school for the first time, counter-intuitively).
More important is the way I think the actual history refutes the current prevailing talk among certain urban elites here that China isn't ready for democracy because the peasants/common people are too ignorant. Of anyone, they seem to have been less susceptible to manipulation and more likely to keep their basic humanity.
There are plenty of memoirs available by the people who suffered most and first; as you say, there are even those who did very well nicely (though I think most of these keep quiet). The radicals are either dead or even less able to speak than the persecuted intellectuals. There is that significant divide between town and country (ironic given that ending this was part of the justification for sending youth down to the countryside), and farmers have rarely had a voice. So I usually end up arguing this corner not because I think the CR was well-conceived, well-intentioned or a good thing, but because it did in fact have significant political content beyond certain accounts that see it as a power struggle at the top and chaos below alone.
posted by Abiezer at 12:03 PM on September 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


*nods* I think I'd agree with all that. For thousands of years ordinary Chinese have done great things, mostly in spite of whichever assholes are in charge at the time.
posted by kmz at 12:27 PM on September 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


See also Hong Lauwai (Red Foreigner).
posted by Rash at 12:35 PM on September 25, 2011


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