Sunday, 27 January 2013

Antique Shanghai Pop Music 1930-49

In the 1920's -40's Shanghai was the biggest city in the world, eclipsing New York. Before the 1840's, Shanghai was a small fishing village but its strategic position in the Yangtze delta meant that it was a gateway to the Chinese interior. Everyone in Shanghai was a migrant from somewhere else. Everyone's a newcomer, everything's new. This was a city that invented itself, a symbol of New China. Shanghai was so big, and its hinterland so vast, that it generated its own cultural momentum. HERE is a link to a programme which contrasts Chinese, western and Japanese music from the 1930's. Listen especially to the commentary, which is very well informed. Chinese popular music thrived in its own right, with its own self-generating market. It wasn't grafted on western roots, but sometimes adapted ideas from the west to Chinese expectations. These songs were by no means "covers" in the modern sense, but unique in their own right. Shanghai was sophisticated enough that anyone who really wanted western music could easily get it in nightclubs or on 78's. As long as attitudes to world culture are dominated by west-centric exclusiveness, we won't understand how audiences in China relate to classical music. And since China, Korea and Japan are possibly the future of classical music, we really need to know. Enjoy this download, it's free. More programmes available, just scroll down. Thank you Ling Tai Kor ! If you're interested, there's a lot more on this site about Chinese music, Shanghai, cross-cultural interactions, Chinese film and culture.

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