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February 5, 2010

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Girl band plays sweet punk

ROCK is a man's world, especially in China, but the girl band Momo has made its name by singing sweet upbeat songs about Shanghai girls. Nie Xin reports.

The girl band Momo will stage at Yuyintang live house next Friday in a Chinese Lunar New Year's concert, along with popular local bands Mushroom, Little Nature and Double Control Where.

Momo is one of Shanghai's few female rock bands and one of the oldest - the four full-time musicians in their early twenties have been together for five years.

Next Friday they will stage for half an hour, performing some of their cute, upbeat favorites such as "Little Monster," "Sunny Dolls," "My Momo" and "Don't Tell Mom and Dad That I Broke Up."

The four are vocalist Ding Jia (Ding+), guitarist Tang Yiqun (Maya), bass player Xin Ying and the drummer Chen Ruiqing (Xixi).

The four - three blonde musicians and one with auburn hair - are frequent performers in live houses and at music festivals. They collaborate on songs and have produced around 20 original works - they are working on their first solo album, which is expected to be released in six months.

Their fans, mostly girls, scream with delight.

They formed the group in 2005 when they were in college and originally called themselves Happy Strings. In late 2008 they changed the name to Momo, after a Japanese animation figure, Magical Princess Minky Momo.

"Momo is a lovely, brave and innocent girl. She matches the spirits of our band," says guitarist Tang.

The band has made a joint album, "Indie Top," from the Soma Company with Mushroom, Little Nature and Double Control Where.

Momo's rock is sweet, punk style, reflecting the moods of Shanghai girls and their sensitivities.

"Girls can be gentle, can be independent, can be tough and powerful. Our rock music is very sweet. It's totally different from those boy's bands," says Tang.

Their songs reflect real life, they say.

"Young people's life is colorful and youth will never fade," the band says in a statement.

The song "Little Monster" refers to sassy Shanghai girls who can playfully punch their boyfriends, talk back and make jokes.

They sing about going shopping together, having afternoon tea and loving the color pink - pink cars, pink fashion, pink cell phones, pink furniture.

The four live in their own apartment and keep up a demanding schedule of rehearsal and performance. They say their parents approve and they earn enough to support themselves.

They follow Japanese fashion and are influenced by their favorite pop singer Mavis Hsiao Hsuan Fan and some Japanese punk bands.

They sometime perform once or twice a week in the busy season. Their fresh and casual style makes them the center of attention in groups of rockers.

"We love live shows, they are the spirit of rock," says Tang. "We are so touched and excited when we get feedback from the audience and hear them sing with us."

Momo has tried many different styles and has returned to one that is natural.

"We have a simple and pure dream as a band - giving concert tours and releasing fine albums. We hope our band will develop and mature," the band says in a statement.

Date: February 12, 9pm

Venue: Yuyintang live house, 851 Kaixuan Rd (near Yan'an Rd W.)

Tickets: 50 yuan (400 tickets)

Tel: 5237-8662 What Yuyintang boss says about Momo Rock in China is regarded as a man's world. It's not easy at all for Momo to survive in this world and to hang on for such a long time. From their early pop punk to the recent Japanese-style pop, they are always working hard and making a great effort.

Creating more independent songs with their own style is the most important thing in their future development.

I remind them that people come to listen to them because they make good music, not just because they are four girls.


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