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Chinese Variety Show “Heroes of Remix” Brings Electronic Dance Music to the Masses

China’s new music reality show Heroes of Remix has become a hot topic on Chinese social media since its first airing on Jiangsu TV. The show gives electronic dance music a Chinese flavor and has heightened the popularity of the music genre in China.

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China’s new music reality show Heroes of Remix has become a hot topic on Chinese social media since its first airing on Jiangsu TV. The show gives electronic dance music a Chinese flavor and has heightened the popularity of the music genre in China.

China’s much-anticipated music reality show “Heroes of Remix” (盖世英雄), that has premiered June 19 on Jiangsu TV, is getting rave reviews on Sina Weibo.

Different from previously aired music competition shows, including “The Voice of China” (中国好声音), “I Am a Singer” (我是歌手) and “King of Mask Singer” (蒙面歌王), “Heroes of Remix” (盖世英雄) brings an entertaining arrangement of remix music and dance, marking China’s first-ever variety show that features electronic dance music (EDM).

heroesofremix

Following its previous popularity and success in Vietnam, The Remix highlights a dance music talent format in which singers, DJs and vocalists pair up and compete to make internationally-recognized Chinese EDM music. In each show, eight rookie singers or music bands, under the guidance of their mentors, showcase live music performances of Chinese songs. The songs that receive most votes from the audience at the end of each show will be incorporated in albums to make them hit the top music charts.

China’s Heroes of Remix’s participating mentors are diverse, including four big names in the industry; Chinese American singer Wang Leehom (王力宏), Park ‘Gangnam Style’ Jae-sang (PSY) from South Korea, Taiwan-based singer Harlem Yu (庾澄庆) and Chinese popular music duo Phoenix Legend (凤凰传奇). The show’s main sponsor is Chinese automobile manufacturer BYD Auto.

While EDM music has been quite popular and influential in the western world, China is not yet considered as a major production hub for electronic music. In an interview with People’s Daily, music producer Liu Zhou (刘洲) addressed China’s lack of prominent EDM culture:

“In China, the development of EDM somewhat lags behind, and we are not able to keep up with industry trends. If everyone else is making electronic music but we are not, we will stay behind.”

The significance of Heroes of Remix is that it not only adds new flavor to existing Chinese songs, but also redefines what EDM means in a Chinese context. One netizen wrote on Sina Weibo that Heroes of Remix challenges public misunderstanding about EDM just being “fast-tempo nightclub tunes”, and introduces “the true essence of electronic music”.


Various Chinese singers, including Zhang Yuge (张语格) and Lu Ting (陆婷), with their remix version of Chinese classic “The Moon Represents My Heart”.

Forbes Magazine recently reported that EDM still has much room for growth in the world today, one of the reasons being that out of all music genres, “electronic dance music is one of the most transportable”. One the reasons is that there is no language barrier to the music between different countries, as the instrumental music is often more important than the lyrics (if there are any). There are still many possibilities in the world of EDM even when it has topped out in the major developed countries, Forbes writes, “sort of like what happened with American jazz music of the 1950s and 60s.”

As international as the genre may be, the Chinese version of Heroes of Remix is unmistakenly Chinese, as it brings elements of Chinese traditional culture into remixes of Chinese songs. The performance by the hip-hop duo DanyLee and Ai Fei (李斯丹妮/艾菲), for instance, was incorporated with sounds of the pipa and singing parts of Beijing Opera.

But besides showing that electronic dance music can have a Chinese identity, Heroes of Remix also conveys the message that music has no borders –  popular Korean idol groups performing on the show added new K-Pop components to it,  receiving much praise from Chinese viewers on Weibo. On the first episode, the song “Beijing Beijing” by the Korean hit boy band iKon was voted as the most popular record of the eight.

In many aspects, Heroes of Remix is taking the music reality show genre in a new direction and is opening up numerous possibilities for electronic music-making in China. The popularity of the show on Chinese social media shows that China is ready for more EDM. Now let’s see if the world is ready for Chinese EDM – we’ll have to wait and see.

Heroes of Remix will be come out on JiangSu TV every Sunday.

By Yanling Xu

©2016 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

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Yanling Xu is a freelance writer and recent college graduate. Originally from Xiamen, China, she studied in the U.S. and received her Bachelor degree in Political Science and East Asian Studies from Grinnell College. Yanling currently resides in Chicago.

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2 Comments

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  1. Avatar

    Mey

    July 18, 2016 at 10:31 am

    I watched every episodes, of course it was really good, electronic dance music EDM. It kinds of the most hit song that I’ve ever listened. Great work, Heroes of Remix China.

  2. Avatar

    Lita Delgado

    July 22, 2016 at 10:26 pm

    I’ve seen several videos on youtube, looks great, but unfortunately I understand nothing. I’d love to watch the whole episodes with english subtitles. If someone knows a website could please share the link with me? thanks!!

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China Arts & Entertainment

Famous Chinese Nursery Song “One Penny” Inflates to “One Yuan”

One penny becomes one yuan in this children’s song. What’s next – changing it to QR codes?

Manya Koetse

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Famous Chinese children’s song “One Penny” (一分钱) has changed its penny to a Chinese yuan ($0.15).

The lyrics to the song are now published online and in children’s books with the different lyrics, Chinese news platform City Bulletin (@都市快报) reports on Weibo.

The altered text in a children’s book.

The classic song, in translation, says:

I found a penny on the street,
And handed it over to Uncle Policeman.
The Uncle Policeman took the penny,
And nodded his head at me.
I happily said: “Uncle, goodbye!

The song, by Chinese composer Pan Zhensheng (潘振声), is known throughout China. It came out in 1963.

Apparently, in present-day China, nobody would go through so much hassle for a penny anymore, and so the text was altered (although it is very doubtful people would go through the trouble for one yuan either).

The penny coin (0.01) in renminbi was first issued in 1957, and is somewhat rare to come across these days. “It’s probably even worth more than one yuan now,” some netizens argue.

Chinese media report that composer Pan Zhensheng said the song is just an innocent children’s song, and that it should not be affected by price inflation. Sina News also quoted the composer in saying that changing the text is “not respectful.”

Although some Chinese netizens think the change in the song is just normal modern development, others do not agree at all. In Hangzhou, some say, all you can find on the streets nowadays is QR codes rather than coins. Surely the song should not incorporate those new developments either?

Some commenters on Weibo say the song would never be realistic in China’s current cashless society anyway: “Kids nowadays are not finding cash money at all anymore!”

By Manya Koetse

Spotted a mistake or want to add something? Please let us know in comments below or email us. Please note that your comment below will need to be manually approved if you’re a first-time poster here.

©2019 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com

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Chinese TV Dramas

Controversy over Scene in Anti-Japanese War Drama Featuring Black U.S. Soldier and Chinese Nurse

Some scenes from this anti-Japanese war drama have angered Chinese netizens over ‘historical nihilism.’

Manya Koetse

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A black soldier comes to China from afar during WWII and falls in love with a Chinese villager who sacrifices her life for him. This war drama is sensationalizing the Sino-Japanese War in the wrong way, many netizens say.

“I love you, I love China,” a black man tells a Chinese woman in a clip of an anti-Japanese war drama that has gone viral on Chinese social media over the past few days (watch clip in embedded tweet below).

The scene is set on a mountain, where the man and woman hold hands when she tells him to flee from the “Japanese devils.” She repeats: “Remember: love me, love China.”

The love scene takes a dramatic turn when the two get ambushed by the Japanese army. The Chinese woman immediately pushes the man off the mountain to bring him to safety. While she cries out “love me, love China” she is attacked by Japanese soldiers and dies.

The scene comes from a 2016 TV drama titled The Great Rescue of The Flying Tigers (飞虎队大营救). The drama tells the story of Japanese soldiers chasing surviving members of a Flying Tigers aircraft after they shot it down. Various soldiers and army staff on the Chinese side try to rescue the fighters from the hands of the Japanese.

The drama’s portrayal of a romance between the foreign soldier and a Chinese woman, on the side of the Communist Eighth Route Army, has stirred controversy on Weibo this week.

“The director is retarded, this is historical nihilism,” one Weibo blogger writes.

Hundreds of netizens also criticize the drama’s director and screenwriters: “This is not even funny, what kind of scriptwriter comes up with this trash? This should be thoroughly investigated.”

The Flying Tigers (飞虎队) were a group of US fighter pilots who went to China during the final three years of the Second Sino-Japanese War to fight the Japanese invaders and defend China.

Flying Tigers.

The people behind the Flying Tigers belonged to the organization of the American Volunteer Group (AVG), who came together in 1941 to strengthen the Chinese Air Force.

In the now controversial TV drama The Great Rescue of The Flying Tigers, the black soldier is ‘Carl’ (Cedric Beugre), a surviving member of the Flying Tigers aircraft shut down by Japanese forces. The Chinese woman is ‘Xinghua,’ a female nurse who sacrifices her own life to save Carl.

The dialogues between Carl and Xinghua are pretty simple and at times almost ridiculous. While Xinghua does not speak a word of English and appears clueless, Carl is depicted as a stubborn, crude and somewhat silly character, who also seems to understand very little of what is happening around him and does all he can to be with his Xinghua after a brief meeting in the Chinese base camp (also see this scene or here).

On Chinese social media, the drama is critiqued for being a so-called ‘divine Anti-Japanese drama’ (抗日神剧): Chinese war dramas that sensationalize the history of the war by making up unrealistic and overly dramatic or funny scenes and storylines.

In 2015, China’s State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film, and Television (SAPPRFT) announced a limit on these kinds of TV dramas that sensationalize the history of war, and in doing so ‘misrepresent history’ and ‘disrespect’ the Chinese soldiers who fought to defend the nation (read more).

TV series focusing on war are part of China’s every day (prime time) TV schedules. These Chinese war dramas are called “Anti-Japanese War Dramas” (抗日电视剧), literally referring to the period of ‘resisting Japan’ during WWII (in China, the 1937-1945 war is called The War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression 中国抗日战争).

The 40-episode series The Great Rescue of the Flying Tigers was aired by Yunnan City Channel but is also available online. Since there are countless reruns of Anti-Japanese war dramas on Chinese tv, it is possible that some viewers only now viewed the 2016 drama for the first time.

Some netizens call this a “new kind of fantasy war drama”, summarizing: “A black man comes from far away to China to fight Japan, falls in love with a Chinese nurse who sacrifices her own life for him and yells ‘Love me love China’ before she dies.”

Many on social media call the script “idiotic,” others question if black soldiers ever joined the Flying Tigers in the first place.

There seems to be more to the controversy than sensationalizing history alone though – relationships between foreign men and Chinese women, especially black men and Chinese women, are often met with prejudice and racism on Chinese social media. Mixing such a narrative in a drama about the Second Sino-Japanese war makes it all the more controversial.

Some see the narrative of the love between a foreign soldier and a Chinese woman as a way of ‘beautifying’ the war and ‘adoring everything that’s foreign.’

“This is not respecting history at all!”, one among hundreds of commenters says.

In the TV drama, the sentence “Love me, Love China” does have some extra meaning in the end. Although Xinghua sacrifices her life for Carl in episode 19, he eventually chooses to fight side by side against the Japanese ‘devils’ with the Chinese army, keeping his promise to “love China” like he loved Xinghua.

By Manya Koetse , with contributions from Miranda Barnes

Spotted a mistake or want to add something? Please let us know in comments below or email us. Please note that your comment below will need to be manually approved if you’re a first-time poster here.

©2019 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com

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