Tonight, Beijing-based Mongolian-folk-meets-rock act Hanggai performs as part of the Live on the Patio at Roy Thomson Hall series. It’s a free afterwork music series with artists performing two sets -at 6:30pm and 8pm with doors opening at 5pm. Food and drinks are available for purchase.
You know how you feel about that artist you found way back when, before they got big/sold out/played Massey Hall? That’s how I feel about Hanggai, who I’ve seen evolve from a straight-up Rage-Against-the-Machine-fuelled hard rock band into one that delves deep into the Mongolian traditions of its members – and one that hasn’t forgotten how to rock. That combination has driven their rise through the Chinese rock underground and into the mainstream – and the international festival circuit.
Hanggai’s members are a minority in a homogenous country, eager to express their identity. They are equally excited and inspired by ancient Mongolian traditions and the last thirty years of rock and roll. Residents of Beijing, one of the world’s most intense cities, they are deeply connected to the Mongolian grasslands. Their music expresses all of that and more, and offers a unique, and important window into China today. To set the scene for this memorable musical evening, I’ll be hosting a pond-side gathering to talk about the band and the scene and country from which they emerged. I hope you’ll join us.
Guest contributor Jonathan Campbell lived in Beijing, China from 2000-2010 and worked as a promoter/presenter of local and international artists in China and of Chinese bands in the West while writing for a range of international publications and playing in a number of bands. His book Red Rock: The Long, Strange March of Chinese Rock & Roll (Earnshaw Books, 2011), describes the history and development of Chinese rock music. He is currently Special Projects Associate at the Corporation of Massey Hall and Roy Thomson Hall.