How Cantopop Influenced Me From The Hong Kong Handover 20 Years On.

It’s very rare I usually do an essay/commentary on my blog. For those who know me, I’m a total Cantopop fan/lover when I combined that genre with Canadian indie music when I had a weekly radio show.

Being as a Chinese, my mom used to rent videotapes from Hong Kong’s TVB. Ranging from dramas to music shows, it’s been ingrained since I was young.

How did I become hooked on Cantopop? I would say that the Hong Kong Handover in 1997 affected me because I had relatives living there and my parents were from there. I didn’t want to lose that part of my cultural heritage. It wasn’t until towards the end of high school where I was listening to Hong Kong radio on the Internet and my love of radio came back in a different approach. 

In my University phase, I still kept listening to the classic Cantopop songs and some newer music. 2003 struck when Leslie Cheung and Anita Mui died and the Cantopop industry was never the same since. In the mid-2000s, I was not able to listen to one of the popular Hong Kong radio stations because of the audio streaming and switching to the Mac computers. 

Getting into Beyond
Aside from the tragedies, one impact that still hits the mark among Cantopop fans has been the death of Beyond’s frontman, Wong Ka Kui. I’ve been entrenched with their music because their range can soft, slow, fast and heavy. They were mainly a rock band unlike the conventional singers in Cantopop.

Their popular tracks were often love songs towards the end of 1980s and into 1990s, it was getting into the political message.  Continue reading

The Christmas Edition and The Top 50 of 2013, Part 1 – S09E15

WW Vinyl December 16

It’s that time of festive season where I’ll be playing Christmas music. This year is a bit different in terms of music format as I decided to play J-POP Christmas songs on CKCU-FM. After a debacle from last year’s radio show where I played Christmas UK #1 songs, it’s a better way to play it safe by choosing Christmas tunes from the Far East.
Played were Cream, B’z, L’Arc~en~Ciel, BoA and KinKi Kids. For Cantopop, there was Lonely Christmas by Eason Chan as it’s become part of the yearly Christmas playlist.

As usual, I was joined by Lauren as we decided to play through the festive tunes and it’s her last live show for 2013. She will still be on the air for the year end countdown show.
We were joined by Erica who made a surprise appearance. We also had fun taking some instant film photos using The Impossible Project film to the Polaroid camera. It was two hours full of fun music and wearing Santa hats.
The playlist can be checked over at this link. You can also listen to the audio below.
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Wrapping Up Season Eight & The Interview with Born Ruffians – S08E46

Born Ruffians ODBF Vinyl

I can’t believe the blog has gone on for eight seasons and as usual, it’s that time to wrap up the blog and radio show (currently on season four) for the Summer. On this week’s show, there was the interview with the Toronto band, Born Ruffians as they were in Ottawa on the weekend for the Tim Hortons Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival. You can listen to the interview below the entry. Note: The version on the blog is a full version as we discussed about social media. The radio show version was edited.
Apologies for the image as I forgot to get a photo with the band members.

Also on the show was the conclusion to the tribute to Beyond’s Wong Ka Kui as June 30th marks the 20th anniversary of his death. The song choices for the Cantopop segment are the well-known Beyond tracks. One track I played was unusual choice and it’s an English song called Long Way Without Friends. Another classic song played which had significance back in 1990 and it was about Nelson Mandela. That song is 光輝歲月, which is translated as Glorious Days. We’ve been hearing about Mandela’s health in the news recently. It’s just fitting to play that song one more time as it’s another tribute to a fearless leader.

Due to the length of last week’s entry, I’m reposting the interviews with Chris Ho and Crissi Cochrane. In case you weren’t able to find it. They are posted alongside the Born Ruffians interview.
Maestro Fresh Wes takes the number one spot for this week to end the month of June on The Wild 10 Countdown.
The playlist from the June 26th radio show (season finale) can be seen at this link.

Still having a bit of NXNE/Toronto withdrawal and if you kept up to date on my Facebook page, I posted a link from the CBC Music Presents The Beetle Roadtrip Sessions where there was a finale party in Toronto. Yes, I appear in the video. If you’re wondering why I have been wearing an aqua coloured vintage adidas jacket, it partly due to attending the 2012 edition House of Paint. I decided to wear the track jacket and wore it during my high school days in the 1990s, which still fits me.

Last thing, this ends the blog for another wonderful season. I know it’s confusing that it’s season eight and the radio show is season four. A big thanks goes out to Candice So as she helped out and contribute for the blog. We also had a great time interviewing bands and musicians. You’ve been awesome!
Another shoutout goes out to Lauren Bridle in joining me for the first half of season four of the radio show on CKCU.
The blog will be back in the Fall for season nine but expect a few Summer specials on the blog.

Have a great Summer.
NOTE: I will not be doing any music interviews for the Summer. They will return in the Fall.
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Off To NXNE (2013 Edition) – S08E44

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For the second year, I will be heading to Toronto for NXNE and this week’s radio show consisted of acts who will be playing at the music festival in Toronto. On this edition of the show, played were Chris Ho, Gold & Youth, The National and a bunch of others.
Starting off the live show was a brand new song from Maestro Fresh Wes as he will be releasing his new album, Orchestrated Noise. It will be out on June 25th. The track played featured Canadian soprano, Measha Bruggergosman. It’s a unique track as Hip-Hop meets Opera. To my own surprise, Bruggergosman tweeted with excitement that it was played on CKCU-FM.

It’s the second week play another tribute to Beyond’s Wong Ka Kui as this year is the 20th anniversary of his tragic death.
This week’s song choices were from the 1988 album, Secret Police (秘密警察). The album cover is shown above for this week’s image pick. Although, the two songs didn’t have Wong Ka Kui on vocals and I forgot to mention on-air that it was Paul Wong, who did the vocals for the two songs. Ending the Beyond set was the song, Morning Train (早班火車), as I will be hopping on the train on Friday morning, barring no disruptions.

On the Wild 10 Countdown, Said The Whale is still number one for the third week. You can read the summary over at this link.
You can check the playlist from the live radio show over at this link.

Have a great week and I will have a great time at NXNE in Toronto.
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Hong Kong Milk Tea & The Radio Show – S08E43

Hong Kong Milk Tea Frame

I was a bit stumped in writing something as I haven’t had any music interviews for the past month. Instead, I decided to blog about making Hong Kong Milk Tea as DAVIDsTEA came out with a recipe to making Hong Kong Milk Tea. It caught my attention as I like things about Hong Kong.
I decided to buy Kenyan Tinderet and didn’t expect to see the tea leaves looking like coffee. Worse part was not getting sweetened condensed milk until later in the night as I walked to the supermarket and bought one. It costed around three dollars as I’m not too familiar with it.

Onto making the tea, I boiled one litre of hot water (95 degrees Celsius) and added four spoonfuls of Kenyan Tinderet in a teapot. I didn’t use a pitcher as it got used for storing water. Later, I put 1/2 cup of sweetened condensed milk. I didn’t know it was gooey and sticky compared to liquid-y condensed milk. Mixed it together on a cup and measuring cup due to not using a pitcher (photo shown above). Added ice and it was done. The silly part was drinking from the measuring cup.

The verdict: It tasted sweet and nice. There was hint that you’re not really drinking tea. On their website, it mentioned “light honey” and I did felt a bit of a slight honey taste. Another thing that I was reminded of drinking Vitasoy.
Overall, a nice drink but had a complicated time in making due to not using a pitcher. I’ll definitely make another drink again.

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For This Week… – S08E38

May 8 Vinyl

On this week’s edition of the radio show at CKCU-FM, it was tribute to the late Teresa Teng and the annual songs for Mother’s Day. It’s quite fitting to commemorate on May 8th as it’s the 18th anniversary of Teresa Teng‘s death. She passed away in 1995. Teng was revered and beloved throughout East Asia as her music has garnered older and younger fans alike. I was able to play Faye Wong‘s version of Wishing We Last Forever (但願人長久). One of the Teresa Teng songs played was called Red Bean. A funny story was my former co-host, Candice, made a tweet that I am weird for not liking red bean. The tweet along with a photo can found here. Kudos to China Album for the support.
As usual, Mother’s Day is this Sunday and every year, I play certain songs for Mother’s Day. This year, I added Keep Shining by Shad as the song is an ode to strong females.
On the Wild 10 Countdown this week, New Summer by Young Galaxy takes the top spot as Ottawa was having warm Summer-like temperatures for the past week. The summary can be checked over at this link.
The playlist from the live show is over at this.

On the podcast part of the show, new tracks from likes of Vampire Weekend and She & Him were played. I’m still enjoying the new Daft Punk song, Get Lucky (featuring Pharrell). This week’s podcast used the M-Rock’s Bangin’ Disco Mix of Get Lucky. Starting off the podcast was playing a new Shad track called Peace but it’s a rough mix/demo, which won’t be on his upcoming album. Briefly mentioned the lineup for the Wolfe Island Music Festival as it was announced last week.
Playlist from the podcast is posted below. Red highlights Cancon.

This weekend, I will be checking out Ottawa Comiccon. Wish me luck when I see people in “unique” costumes and experience the geek/nerd culture. It’s been awhile I’ve gone to a comic book convention and it’s the first time to attend a major convention in Ottawa. The previous conventions I attended were in Toronto.

Lastly, I didn’t have an image to use and again, I used Vinylize Me to create the entry for this week.
Have a great week and wishing everyone a great Mother’s Day for Sunday!
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A Goodbye to Candice – S08E36

Lenny & Candice - April 24th

It’s been a fun time having Candice on my radio show. Wednesday was her final show as she’s moving down to Toronto. I’m trying not to rehash what was said on the show but it’s been a great privilege to have someone on the show with enthusiasm towards Canadian independent music.
All I have to say that we had a great time interviewing bands, interacting with them and going to the venues prior to soundcheck. It seemed like an adventure. The last and funny part was having to be at Second Cup in downtown several time to go through the questions. It was almost like a daily routine.
Another thing I forgot to mention on the show was getting to meet some of the hosts at CKCU.
Lastly, as much as you’re a worrywart and kept “cattle-prodding” me, I’ve been very easy-going, calm and made sure things were fine.

Prior to Candice’s final show, she decided to bring her adidas track jacket to slightly match the style that I’m wearing. The photo shown above. Unfortunately, the Polaroid pics didn’t turn out so well.

Song played today had new tracks from Louise Burns and Aidan Knight. The Cantopop segment was on Sandy Lam as her birthday is on April 26.
The send-off songs to Candice at the end of the show were I Was A Fool by Tegan and Sara and Take Care by Beach House. Videos posted below.
Also on the radio show, we played Genesis by Grimes as she won for electronic album of the year at the 2013 Juno Awards. What I didn’t know was that she posted on her Tumblr page about sexism. It was trending on Facebook and Twitter, so we didn’t get a chance to mention on the air what was happening as it was very sudden.
In my opinion, I rarely watch Grimes’s music videos and when playing her song on Wednesday, I was dancing along to the song and not think the image or anything in particular. Call it an ironic day by playing a musician and not knowing the buzz surrounding it.

On the Wild 10 Countdown, Born Ruffians take the top spot as we end the month of April. The countdown entry is over at this link. If you’re listening on the blog, the songs played on the podcast is posted from the countdown blog and no longer on the CKCU playlist.

The playlist from the live show is over at this link via CKCU-FM.

So long and enjoy Toronto, Candice!
You’re the best!
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Interviews with Language Arts and FIRExFIRE / Chatting Hong Kong Films – S08E34

Language Arts FIRExFIRE Teal Grid

After several weeks of Candice writing on the blog, it’s nice to be back and writing. I decided to give her a break for this week.
On the April 10th edition of WildWorks on CKCU-FM, myself and Candice had the opportunity to interview with Toronto-based bands, Language Arts and FIRExFIRE. Both bands were in Ottawa last Friday as they were playing at venues. Language Arts was at Raw Sugar Cafe, opening up for Gianna Lauren. FIRExFIRE was playing at Cafe Dekcuf. It was definitely a busy Friday.
Overall, both were great and it was a privilege to see Kristen (of Language Arts) again and finally meet the members of FIRExFIRE. Thanks again to the two bands.

To listen to the interviews, the audio are posted below.
The interview with Language Arts has two versions. The one posted to Soundcloud is the entire version, while the one aired on CKCU-FM (and on their On-Demand) had a segment edited out.

On the Wild 10 Countdown, New Summer (Doldrums Remix) by Young Galaxy takes the top spot this week. The summary and playlist for the podcast can be seen here.

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Remembering Leslie Cheung, 10 Years On – S08E32

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Hi friends, this is Candice with a recap of today’s edition of WildWorks.

This week was an important one for Lenny – the 10th anniversary of the death of Hong Kong Cantopop legend Leslie Cheung. Cheung was one of HK’s biggest stars, releasing more than 30 albums and acting in over 60 movies.  Known affectionately as “Goh Goh,” translated as ‘older brother,’ he was also one of the first pop singers in Hong Kong to publicly acknowledge his bisexuality. However, on April 1, 2003, Cheung committed suicide by jumping from a hotel room balcony. He was 46.

To mark the occasion, Lenny put together a few medleys of classic Cheung standbys. It featured songs like “Silence is Golden,” “Black Midnight,” and “A Man of Intention.” We also played a live version of Sandy Lam’s song, “At Least I Still Have You,” taken from the Passion Tour in 2000, which was the last tour before his death. Being the tenth anniversary, there are several events happening in Hong Kong to mark the occasion.
The image chosen for this year’s tribute is the cover to his 1987 album, Summer Romance. It’s an iconic image as the album became critically acclaim and put Cheung into major stardom.

If you’re reading this entry after April 1st, 2013, some links to check out. A story over at AsiaOne/The Straits Times about the last phone call that Leslie Cheung made on the fateful day ten years ago.
Huffington Post on the exhibit paying tribute to Cheung. Over at AsiaOne – “Two million cranes for Leslie Cheung.”
At Yahoo! Singapore Entertainment – “Leslie’s memorial concert a success.”

Elsewhere on the show, we played some good ol’ CanCon, with folky tracks from artists like Octoberman and the Abramson Singers, both of whom are playing at Raw Sugar Café tonight. We also referenced a bit about the two pandas arriving to Toronto and decided to play a song called Slippery When Wet by The Acorn as it mentioned about the cuddly animal.
Scary Bear Soundtrack released a new track called Victoria Island, as it got revealed on Tuesday night.

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Chinese New Year 2013: The CNY & Valentine’s Day Show – S08E25

CNY at CKCU

Gong Hei Fat Choy again!
It’s an annual thing to do the Chinese New Year edition of the radio show. I finally got Candice to join me for this year’s occasion as I previously wanted her to join me on the 2012 edition of the CNY radio show but she was busy with other things. This year made it happier for myself as we got to talk about the traditions and festivities of Chinese New Year.
As usual, we played the Chinese music related to the holiday, no matter how we scoffed at the cheesy tunes played, it can be similar to Christmas music being played non-stop. There were a few “snake” songs played as this year is “the year of the snake.”

The photo shown has us holding Chinese New Year goodies and decorations. It’s the second year to bring the addictive rice crackers and cannot stop eating those.

Aside from Chinese New Year, we also played some love songs for Valentine’s Day. It was pretty jam packed to playing CNY and V-Day songs and both themes have become a yearly staple for my radio show. For the Valentine’s Day show, I would always play a couple of Cantopop love songs and one in particular has been played on V-Day, which happened to be 情人 (translated as Lover) by Beyond.
To my own astonishment, Candice did not know Firestruck by Young Galaxy. I thought she heard songs from their 2009 album, Invisible Republic.

This week’s Wild 10 Countdown has Hayden at the top spot. The summary and other songs played are over at this link.
You can check the playlist from the CNY & V-Day show over at this link.
Lion dance performances have slightly calmed down after Monday and anticipating for the parade in Ottawa Chinatown this Saturday afternoon. Hope to see you there.

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