Thursday, February 25, 2010


The Beijing live music scene is emerging from its Chunjie hibernation.

Last night, Salud had a new(ish) Chinese Celtic band, Iontach Banna (a plausibly Gaelic-looking name, but I do not recognise either word and have not been able to find them so far in any online dictionary!) - which features a nice combination of fiddle, flute, guitar, harmonica and bodhran. In addition to praising their fine musicianship, I would note that the flute player is extremely cute. [It would seem there's suddenly a bit of a competition developing in the Irish bands stakes in the run-up to St Pat's: my friends Nico Torrese and Zoe Wang - formerly of 'The Dublingers', a fine, if unfortunately named, ensemble which sadly dissolved last summer (I'm not sure if it's their fiddle-player who's now leading Iontach; she looks kind of famliar!) - have joined a new Celtic outfit, Blackwater, which apparently includes a singer [a singer, indeed yes: I discovered a few days later that it is none other than the Great Uncle Bulgaria of the Beijing music scene, Des McGarry - so they should be a pretty awesome show], and will be making its debut at Paddy O'Shea's this Friday.)

The heart-meltingly lovely Daisy Sweetgrass (who was sadly absent from The Redbucks' last day of normality show at Jianghu just before the holiday) is supposed to be appearing at Ginkgo tonight.

Then on Saturday, the gorgeous Marie-Claude Lebel - who's been absent, or lying low for far too long - makes a welcome return, again at Ginkgo (and supported by an interesting-sounding French singer-songwriter called Joris, a recent arrival in Beijing who will apparently be performing "folk-punk and rural blues").

And then, on Sunday, Lantern Festival Day (the grand finale to the fortnight-long bore-a-thon that is Chinese New Year), Helen Feng is doing a show at Yugong Yishan with her 'reinvention' of her old rock'n'roll band Ziyo - henceforth to be called Free The Birds. I will probably have more to say on that choice of name another time (awful! awful!), but for now we're all just grateful to see Helen and the gang back in action.

That's altogether too many crushes for a man to deal with in such a short space of time! My heart will be feeling wrung out like an old dish-rag by Monday morning.

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