The Taiwanese hip-hop group Kou Chou Ching held three concerts in New York on their 2009 World Tour. Four of the five young and highly talented members, ranging in age from 20 to 29, performed:
Fan-Chiang: Hakka MC, singer, and songwriter. Is a graduate of Fu Jen Catholic University with a B.A. in business management, Fan-Chiang is central to the band. He is not religious, but believes that religions help believers to perform good deeds. He sings in his Hakka mother tongue, and he tries to define his own being through learning and creating music.
FishLIN: Holo MC, singer, and songwriter, is a rapper, musician, and graduate of Taipei National University of the Arts, where he majored in architecture and culture resource preservation. A devout Buddhist and vegetarian, he grew up with the music of Nan Guan and Bei Guan drama that his father played, which naturally influences his own musical innovation. He takes pride in his melding together of various musical styles.
J-CHEN: DJ., a graduate of Fu-Hsin Trade and Arts School in Taipei City. The youngest member in the band, he takes to experimenting with new ideas and fresh elements to make this band more uniquely “Taiwanese.” He first joined the band looking for fun, but his fun diversion has grown into an everlasting love for music and Kou Chou Ching.
Yobo: Suona. The “heavyweight” of the band, his suona horn adds an unexpected, shattering power to the group’s musical performances. He is also a committed writer with a keen interest in modern Taiwanese literature.
Kou Chou Ching’s innovative and infectious music transformed the usually calm and well-guarded Taipei Economic and Cultural 42nd Street office building in New York (TECO-NY) into a hip happening venue, drawing an eclectic and elegantly dressed crowd of over 200 persons from the international media, diplomatic, arts and music circles; many of the distinguished guests, unable to resist the pulse of the rhythm, sang and danced is the aisles.
As noted by TECO’s Deputy Director-General Ambassador Vincent Chi: “Taiwan is a multicultural nation, and this occasion for Kou Chou Ching to bring their wonderful blend of ethnic musical forms and hip-hop to both New York City and the international stage is of great value. Not only will this serve to promote cultural exchange between Taiwan and the United States, but it also represents a great success for the growing popularity of Taiwanese music around the world”.
TECO’s Press Division hosted the event, and Director Tony Ong proudly remarked: “Kou Chou Ching’s performance the prior day in New Jersey attracted an audience of over 800, a turnout that reminds us that good music with cultural distinctiveness has no national boundaries”.
Fan—Chiang , leader of Kou Chou Ching, told the audience that: “prior to heading for New York the band felt very pressured to be performing in this world capital of pop music, and were worried about whether or not their brand of Taiwanese hip-hop could meet with the approval of New York’s music community. The outcome exceeded their expectations; not only in the response from overseas Taiwanese, but in that so many New Yorkers of all skin colors, ethnicities, and backgrounds would come together to appreciate their unique Taiwan-style hip-hop”.
Mr. Alan Capper, president of the event’s co-sponsoring organization the Foreign Press Association, was also in attendance. Other than his praise for Kou Chou Ching’s unique blend of Taiwanese and Western musical styles, he also expressed his hope that the group might have further opportunities in the future to return and perform again in New York.
A 3rd concert held at Arlene’s Grocery, 95 Stanton Street, a trendy bar on the lower Eastside of Manhattan brought deafening cheers of Taiwan! Taiwan! Both the music and the audience shook the walls as more than a hundred fans packed this small but happening club.
To focus attention on the significance of Taiwan’s recent Typhoon Morakot, the group’s performance included several songs specifically having to do with environmental protection, and the coexistence of man and nature, including “Against Nature” and “Gray Coastlines.” The audience response was overwhelming, as they stepped forward to donate to relief efforts, both directly and through the purchase of Kou Chou Ching’s CDs. The group of young performers revealed their compassion by generously donating all proceeds from the night’s cover charge, as well as monies raised at their other two performances in the New York area, raising a total of almost $6,000
After their successful debut in New York and final concert, the group traveled to Tennessee to perform and accept the 2009 Just Plain Folks (JPF) Music Awards for: Best Group of the YEAR, BEST REMIX SONG CATEGORY . . . 2nd place for BEST ASIAN ALBUM, title: “Kou!! It’s Coming Out!!!“. . . and 5th place for Best Asian Song, title: “Against Nature”. After returning to Taiwan for a brief stay, the group will tour Japan.
For more info on Taiwan: www.taiwanembassy.org
To contribute to the relief fund: [email protected]
For more on Kou Chou Ching : www.myspace.com/koucc