For All the Rock in China – Ben Sisario

Not just the economy, like Punk, hip-hop and rock bloom in China, too. From The New York Times:

AS she would anywhere in the world, Karen O of the arty New York rock band the Yeah Yeah Yeahs strode onto a festival stage here last month in costume, looking like a wild, futuristic harlequin in her cape of silver wings and blue-and-green striped tights. Shouting to 10,000 mud-soaked fans who shouted her lyrics right back at her, she thanked them in gasps of Mandarin: “Xie xie ni!”

A couple of days earlier the Brooklyn rapper Talib Kweli was at a gleaming new club across town. And last Sunday, Linkin Park, a group of rap-rock titans with worldwide sales of 45 million, played in Shanghai to a sold-out stadium crowd of 25,000…

Rock ‘n’ roll has had a short and shaky history in China. After an initial flourish in the 1980s it went underground in the aftermath of the Tiananmen Square massacre of 1989. For much of the ’90s the only Western rock to reach Chinese ears came in the form of remaindered CDs from overseas distributors, and musicians were frustrated to find that their music faced too many cultural barriers to take root. [Full Text]

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