He’s been a star onstage for thirty-odd years now, so it’s only reasonable that Cui Jian, the inventor of yaogun, would opt to join the action on other sides of the stage. And the action in question is not his film forrays: in 2009, he was one of three directors that contributed segments to Chengdu, I Love You (which, by the by, debuted at the Venice Film Festival); his 3D concert film came out earlier this year; and his full-length directorial debut, Blue Bone, which tells the story of a young musician, is set for a 2013 release. No, Cui is looking to branch out into another place altogether…
I was just informed that Liang Heping was involved in a serious car accident a week ago; details are difficult to come by, but as of June 29, he remains in hospital with serious lower body injuries.
Liang has been involved in yaogun for just about as long as anyone could have been. A member of the ‘house band’ that backed up all of the singers on that yaogunnily-fateful May day in 1986, it was technically Liang that introduced China to yaogun: He played the first notes of the Song That Changed Everything, Cui Jian’s “Nothing to My Name,” at the Let the World Be Full of Love concert.
On a visit to Hong Kong earlier in the year to speak at the Asia Society, the Wall Street Journal sat me down to talk about a few tunes that represent yaogun’s evolution. Here’s me trying to sum up yaogun in three songs.