Kou Chou Ching
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Music

The best kept secret in music

Press


Taipei Times 2005.6.3 Friday P.13
Report By Max Woodworth

A fusion of tradition and modernity

"Beiguan' is a form of traditional Chinese music. The "Old Styles, New Grooves" festival aims to make it contemporary
The young three-piece hip-hop group Kou Chou Ching are rappers who deliver rhymes over samples from traditional and popular Chinese and Taiwanese music. The result is an unmistakably Taiwanese hybrid without coming off as a musical mutt.
The fusions will get especially creative, however, with the foreign acts that are set to play. Ome have no experience with the beiguan tradition and will be learning on the fly to incorporate the local style into their own. - 2005.6.3


Taipei Times 2005.12.1 Thursday P.14
Report By Gavin Phipps

CD Reviews

If you're fed up with local acts that lamely attempt to sound like they come from a North American ghetto, then Kou Chou-ching's debut album is worth a listen.
Aptly titled Taiwan Traditional Music Style, the album takes listeners on an interesting journey through Taiwan's traditional music scene via scratch and rap.
If it sounds a bit odd then you'd be right as the material is so far removed from any and all other types of localized rap that it actually takes some getting used to.
Listen to it once and you'll hate it, give it another listen after you've had time to digest what you heard the first time around, however, and you'll be pleasantly surprised.
Kou Chou Ching employs a host of earthy local musical styles, such as nakashi, classical opera and temple music, as well as recording several of the tracks in a gnarly KTV manner.
Vocally the combo waxes lyrical, albeit it in a tongue-in-cheek manner, about everything from noodles to red envelopes.
Sure, not all the tunes are musically pleasing, especially when the group dabbles with instrumentation more commonly associated with funerals, but if your eardrums can withstand the nanguan and cringingly kitsch call-in KTV radio moments then it's well worth it. - Taipei Times


Taiwan Panorama No.11 November 2006 P.34

Report By Chang Shih-lun
Photos By Chuang Kung-ju
Translated. By Geof Aberhart

Kou Chou Ching¡XTaiwan's Hip Hop Ambassadors

A group of young men clad in baseball caps and oversized T-shirts bob around excitedly on stage, rapping in a mix of Taiwanese and Hakka, denouncing shoddy workmanship that threatens everyday people; mixed with their Western hip hop rhythms lie elements of traditional songs, with occasional mournful strains of suona¡XChinese oboe¡Xmusic drifting out across the audience. The band¡¦s music is a unique mixture of traditional, modern, local, and foreign.
This is Kou Chou Ching, and it is one of those rare animals in the Taiwanese popular music scene¡Xa hip hop group. Most of their tracks incorporate elements of traditional music, and their lyrics skewer current events to a rapturous response. They are icons for Taiwan¡¦s local brand of hip hop.
Formed in 2003, Kou Chou Ching is led by fishLIN and Fan Chiang; offstage the two are as quick of mind and word as their beats onstage, and while they may dress in a very Western fashion, they¡¦re still traditionalists at heart.
The two, who share writing and lyrical duties, first met during a freestyle rap battle on a basketball court on Taipei¡¦s Civic Boulevard. Freestyle battles are exercises in unrestrained improvisational creativity, like the scenes in Eminem¡¦s semi-autobiographical film 8 Mile. Generally a DJ first lays down a beat, and then the two competitors clash lyrical swords, occasionally engaging themed ¡§battles¡¨ to sharpen their rapping skills.
These two strangers soon realized they shared similar attitudes to music and decided to form a band, calling it Kou Chou Ching. The name is a pun; on the face of it, it is a reference to the agricultural proverb ¡§plough in spring, weed in summer, harvest in autumn, store in winter,¡¨ where the ¡§harvest in autumn¡¨ in Mandarin is qiuqin. The boys chose to romanize this as ¡§chou ching,¡¨ adding the word ¡§kou¡¨ (kao) in reference to the hacking action involved in harvesting rice, making their band name a paean to the hard work of farmers.
But when pronounced in Taiwanese, the name quickly drops its cultured pretensions, sounding like a particularly vulgar slang term for masturbation. In this name Fan Chiang and fishLIN found a perfect representation of their music¡¦s combination of seriousness and irreverence.
When the band first formed, Fan Chiang and fishLIN were the only two members. Last year they added three new members¡XDJ j.little, who handles the computers and is the band¡¦s turntablist, and A-Chi and You Pao, who play traditional Chinese instruments¡Xbut they only perform as a five-man band for bigger, more formal gigs.

Musical enlightenment

Fan Chiang and fishLIN form the creative heart of Kou Chou Ching. Both were born in 1980, and both experienced similar formative experiences with music.
While they were still in junior high, when cable television was just beginning to sweep across Taiwan, MTV would screen a variety of shows on black music from America; these shows would play hip hop, rap, and R&B, which opened the two youngsters¡¦ eyes to the wider world of music. ¡§I thought the music was awesome, but since all the tracks were in English, I never considered trying to emulate the singers,¡¨ says fishLIN.
At the same time, a wave of hip-hop groups were being formed in Taiwan by American-born Chinese, such as LA Boyz, made up of Jeffrey Huang, his brother, and one of his cousins; and Jerry Lo¡¦s band The Party. These bands made a splash, but their distinctly Western style of music and lyrics still left local Taiwanese feeling distanced from them. Fan Chiang says that he would stumble his way along with the English lyrics, not entirely sure what he was actually saying, and never thinking that one day he would be able to use his own native tongue to create his own hip hop.
The hip-hop artist that both fishLIN and Fan Chiang feel has best demonstrated the success that can come from hard work is Taiwan¡¦s MC Hotdog. Now a major celebrity, Hotdog released his own EP in 2001 for NT$39, on which he rapped in Mandarin with lyrics that caustically attacked the flashy and superficial ¡§idol singers¡¨ that saturated the market. This was the first time Fan Chiang, then a junior at college, had heard Western-style rap done with Chinese lyrics, and he would practice rapping along with the instrumental versions of two tracks on Hotdog¡¦s EP. ¡§It was then I discovered I could actually rap, keeping perfect time with the beat.¡¨
Following MC Hotdog¡¦s debut have come the Southern Taiwan band Dog-G, with their Taiwanese-language ¡§Taiwan Song¡¨ and the ¡§Funny Rap¡¨ series of albums from Chu Yue-hsin (of the band Joy Topper Jr.), which humorously attack and mock various social issues while mixing Mandarin, Taiwanese, and English lyrics in tracks with elements of hip hop, rock, and Taiwanese folk music. All of these have had a tr - Taiwan Panorama


Discography

Kou Chou Ching--FuKe(2005)

01.Intro
02.Tiu Tiu Ssu Hsiang Chi(F.Jasonshu)
03.Hong Bao Culture(F.LOC)
04.Confluent People
05.Skit
06.Energumen(Intro)
07.Energumen(F.Jasonshu & Ianl)
08.Hou Chui Tao
09.Your Name Is TAIWANESE!!
10.Against Nature(F.Volvix)
11.Outro

Had play by almost all Taiwan's TV & Radio.
Also play at some CA's podshow.

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

Who Are Kou Chou Ching?

Kou Chou Ching now thats a curious sort of name. A phrase that comes from the seasonal round of agriculture (spring planting, summer tending, autumn labor, winter hoarding), Chou Ching refers to the hard work of autumn harvesting. Meanwhile Kou has to do with the harvesters scythe. Together, the three words give the feeling of laborers plying their tools to bring in the harvest. Its also the attitude that we take to music. Maintaining the spirit of those who plant and tend, we wait for the time of harvest.

Kou Chou Ching started out with fishLIN and Fan Chiang. The two met at a street performance called Lyricist Park. Once competitors, they started collaborating and studied music production together. In the course of their experiments, they discovered that mixing traditional Taiwanese materials with a hip hop rhythm had a cool sort of flow. And because the two of them are passionate about homegrown Taiwanese culture, it made perfect sensetheyd start to make some real Taiwan Traditional Rap. In 2003 they formed Kou Chou Ching. From the first, they won accolades and awards. So what began as their unexpected discovery has been able to take form and grow.

In 2004, DJ j. little joined the crew. A DJ specializing in scratch, j. little uses traditional music albums as his scratch material, a first on Taiwan, and making Kou Chou Ching the first band to Scratch over Mandarin Chinese, Hoklo, and Hakka. Not long after, A-Ji joined with his suo-na (a traditional instrument thats a cross between a trumpet and an oboe), traditional winds and strings, and accordion. This way, Kou Chou Chin became even more multiplex, special, and mature.

In just two short years, Kou Chou Ching has participated in numerous contests and group performances, winning several awards; and in 2004 they were invited to perform in the Haiyan International Music Festival at Kongliaoa coveted stage for Taiwanese indie bands. So in two years Kou Chou Ching has established a name among the independent music scene in Taiwan. Many people find it a huge surprise when they hear Kou Chou Ching for the first time. Who would have thought that there was this sort of Hip Hop being made on Taiwan! This sort of surprise leads to other emotions. Kou Chou Chings songs bring laughter and provoke thought. They are portentsand parody. But most importantly, Kou Chou Chings music does not forsake Taiwan, the place where the music is rooted. Every creative inspiration, big or small, comes from Taiwan.

Because Taiwan is their inspiration, Kou Chou Chings music brings together Taiwanese musical material like Beiguan and Nanguan, Taiwan Opera, Hakka Ba-yin and Mountain Songs, South Chinese Huamei Diao, Peking Opera, and Classical Chinese music. They also sample Taiwanese folk songs and oldies as creative material. The result is a sound thats unique among independent music artists on Taiwan if not the world.

Having crossed a few hurdles between 2003 and 2005, Kou Chou Ching has received the affirmation and support many notable Taiwanese musicians and music producers. Its been two short years. In the future there will be many more two years. Listen to Kou Chou Ching and you will discover that Taiwanese music isnt just heavy and traditional. It can also be lively and new.