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March 24, 2011

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Livehouse returns with Shanren gig

AFTER a two-month break, Mao Livehouse will reopen this weekend with a grand bash featuring the folk-rock band Shanren from Yunnan Province.

The event is also part of JUE, the wildly eclectic international urban arts and music festival taking place in both Shanghai and Beijing.

Now in its third year, the fringe fixture in the arts and entertainment scene is a collection of alternative, creative and progressive arts and music events running for three jam-packed weeks through April 3.

Every year lots of foreign musicians are invited to China to be a part of JUE. This year musicians from Holland, Germany, France, Japan and Canada will share the stage with talented local bands. With a tight schedule of live music, theater, artist battles and much more, this year's festival includes 55 events taking place across 26 venues in the city.

It's the first time that Shanren have taken part in the JUE Festival.

The Yunnan folk rock phenomenon have mixed ethnic backgrounds - Han, Wa and Buyi ethnic minority groups. Their name means "mountain people" and the band are true ambassadors for the country's ethnic diversity in this emerging era of Chinese musical creativity.

"We aim to promote and preserve the combined and diverse heritage of Yunnan and Guizhou's many ethnic minority groups through our original compositions and re-workings of local folk melodies," says band member Sam Debell, a percussionist from the UK.

The popularity of their energetic live shows has recently led to a tour of South Korea and a triumphant appearance at the Barcelona Merce Festival 2010.

In January, Shanren were invited to represent China at the Reed Midem global music expo in France.

They are now planning a tour of the US at the end of this year.

Their performance at Beijing's Tango 3rd Floor last weekend received very good feedback.

"We mostly do shows in Beijing and audiences there are more familiar with us compared with Shanghai," says Debell, "but through several shows in Shanghai last year, we found that audiences here have a wider and more international acceptance of music. We hope to bring our best performance to them this weekend during the one-and-a-half hour show."

Many important Chinese bands have set Mao Livehouse as one of their must-go stops on their China tours. Recent collaborations with music company Bad News from Japan and local company Soma have strengthened the importance of Mao Livehouse in Shanghai's live music scene.

"Mao Livehouse is considered to have a very important influence on the Chinese indie music performance industry," adds Debell.

"We are proud of that," says Li Dalong, owner of Mao Livehouse, "We see it as our grandiose final destination to support Chinese band culture, so will insist on this aim forever."

Mao Livehouse closed its former venue on Huaihai Road W. at the end of January due to urban construction. The new Mao Livehouse on Chongqing Road S., close to Jianguo Road M., is as big as the previous venue, with capacity for around 1,000 people. Two stage areas will be set - one big and one small.

"The main stage will be bigger than the previous one and more comfortable for the performers. The original style of Livehouse will be maintained, featuring fusion, freedom and happiness," says Li.

He says that the small stage in the bar area will be like a lounge for professional musicians, and will also hold some art events.

Date: March 25, 8pm

Venue: Mao Livehouse, Baiyulan Building, 308 Chongqing Rd S.

Tickets: 40 yuan (pre-sale), 60 yuan (at door)

Tel: 6445-7663

Check for ticketing information.


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