I’ve spent quite some time over the last few years in Hong Kong, Beijing and Singapore. When listening to the local radio it’s surprising how much music from the West you can hear. Not just Top 40 songs but also tunes from the 90’s, 80’s and even the 70’s grace the airwaves. I remember sitting in the back seat of a taxi in Singapore hearing Ring My Bell by Anita Ward sneaking thru the dashboard radio…it gave me a smile!
I’ve also heard a lot of great music from the East. There are two artists in particular that I have in regular rotation on my iPhone: Jay Chou and Jolin Tsai. I first learned of Jay Chou while watching the movie Curse of the Golden Flower starring Yun-Fat Chow and Li Gong. Jay Chou’s character in the movie is Prince Jai who battles for his mother’s honor. The haunting song at the end of the movie, Ju Hua Tai (Chrysanthemum Flower Bed), was performed by Jay Chou. It’s a beautiful song and very delicate. This song is also on his studio album Still Fantasy.
I found Jolin Tsai while searching for music by Jay Chou. She has a lovely voice that’s very sweet and engaging. It also blends nicely with her musical production and its so infecting that I now own three of her albums of which Cheng Bao (Castle) is my favorite so far.
There are other artists and musicians from the East that I’m beginning to explore. It’s like a whole new world of music that I’ve just woken up to – exciting! If you’re interested in sticking your big toe in the waters of popular music from Asia I recommend giving Jay Chou or Jolin Tsai a listen and then go from there. I haven’t found the Alternative, Electronic or Synthpop groups yet but with time I’m sure to stumble across the Eastern equivalent to Depeche Mode!