Posted in Beijing, Culture, Just for fun, Uncategorized, tagged beijing hip hop, beijing welcomes you, dj phat, dragon tongue squad, in three, kirby li, olympic hip hop, olympic rap, Olympic Song, suki mok on 17 June 2008|
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You’ve heard the songs, now check out the Beijing Olympics Rap ‘Beijing welcomes you back’, by local group In Three.
From track & field to swimming/
From the Bird’s Nest (National Stadium) to the Watercube (National Aquatics Center)/
China’s people are realizing an Olympic Dream/
Participating determinedly, achieving victory/
Winning glory for our socialist country/
Our national flag rises above Tian’anmen with the sun
Blogging Beijing has a full interview with In Three, or check out the rap here:
The topics of their rap are not uncommon for China. Chinese rappers do not tend to rhyme about ‘guns and hos’; partly perhaps because they wouldn’t be speaking from any experience, but also for cultural reasons. The current social climate is such that topics tend to centre around daily life – as The Times’ Jane Macartney puts it “the right to party is still controlled by the Party”.
Rap in China is a relatively new phenomenon in China – pop music is dominated with sickly-sweet ballads sung by cute, clean-cut stars. However Bob has been lucky enough to see one Chinese crew spit when Beijing’s Dragon Tongue Squad came to London to play the Royal Opera House. As part of the China Now festival in London – a programme of cultural events leading up to the Olympics – DTS came over and spent a week collaborating with British born Chinese (BBC) artists DJ Phat and Suki Mok.
About the topics of their raps DST’s Kirby Li (aka Verbal Confucius) tell Jane Macartney:
“We have to keep our lyrics real,” Li says. “The life of people in China has nothing to do with drugs, guns or violence but it’s more about how hard it is to find a job and how you feel when your boss curses you or your girl dumps you.”
‘Beijing welcomes you back’ is suitably patriotic and upbeat to fit the profile of an Olympic tune; In Three know that “The Olympics are a business, you know”. But asked about this bringing them global exposure they respond: “Don’t count on it… streets will be blocked, nightclubs shut down. There won’t be hip hop in the Opening Ceremonies.”
Finally, for a historical look at the origins of rap in China see this informative advertisement:
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The Beijing Organising Committee of the Olympic Games have released the official ‘cheer’ for the 2008 Games (via Danwei). For this vital task BOCOG have teamed up with the Party Office of Spiritual Civilization Development and Guidance (GODPP), the Ministry of Education and CCTV.
With this huge amount of expertise, a highly advanced cheer has been developed.
“Olympics, let’s go!
China, let’s go!”
The technical diagram below does it’s best to demonstrate the complex movements that follow the words:
If this is too complex for you the BBC have kindly tasked their top designers with simplifying things:
To explain the importance of this cultural landmark the president of the Beijing Etiquette Institute, Li Ning (not the same Li Ning who featured in the 10 Chinese people you should know about) was called in. From Beijing News (via Danwei):
“At yesterday’s ceremony, Li Ning explained that the uniformity of the cheer contained a multitude of variations. It could be “Go Olympics! Go China!” as well as “Go China! Go Yao Ming!” or “Go Brazil! Go Ronaldino!” It will work to give encouragement to every country and athlete in competition.”
Bob is sure that anyone else who has been to a sports event – particularly a school sports day – will be very familiar with the chant “加油” (“jia you” / “let’s go”). As Meg at Beijing Olympics FAN! points out “jia you” can be directly translated as “add oil”, but is very regularly used as “let’s go” or “come on”. This may not really be new, or revolutionary, but it is a nice little piece of modern Chinese culture.
Check out the CCTV introduction video, including demonstrations from many people in coloured t-shirts, at Danwei.
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A fun Olympics feel-good story from Xinhua News today; Quintuplets bring Olympic mascots to life.
As the Olympic torch reaches their home city of Shantou, Guangdong, Lin Zhonghua and her fellow quintuplets will play Fuwa (Olympic mascots) during the day’s opening ceremony.
“It is very lucky for the city to have the quintuplets to play Fuwa,” says Li Shugai, the children’s kindergarten head teacher, thus dashing any suspicions that the birth of cute quintuplets in time for them to reach kindergarten age by 2008 had been part of any pre-Olympic planning!
It is unlikely that Lin Zhonghua and her siblings have many other classmates with 4 brothers and sisters, so in getting a whole set of Fuwa from one generation of the same family perhaps is lucky for the city of Shantou…?
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