Sheep’s-head fiddle, guitar, dancer, vocals, bass, all kinds national instruments, ethnic percussion, and woodwind; these elements constitute The Herdsman Band. Enter Yunnan, a magnificent and majestic land from the great Nujiang canyon, alongside which runs the mighty Mekong, back up north to Mojiang. There are the lands of the Pumi, the Lahu, and the Hani, where they hold singing completions for the sole purpose of passing on this great tradition. The mysterious, multi-ethnic composition of the band and the original non-material cultural heritage, walking all the way to the ancient nomadic music, singing all the way to the ancestral rhythms… Listening to the Herdsman Band allows one to feel the rhythm of the nation, experience a return to nature. One is touched by the most fanatical dance between heaven and earth, whereby \old memories pass from generation to generation.
China used to be a very different place to the one it is today. In 1949, Mao Zedong - commonly known as Chairman Mao - and his political party, the Communist Party of China, assumed power of the People's Republic of China. Since then, nothing has been the same.
Nothing prepares you for the deft ability of this Japanese instrumental post-rock band to convey raw emotions without a single lyric. In an age of frilly pop concoctions that can barely sing without auto tune, the music scene feels like it has a bad case of ADHD. Our lives are pleasantly or unpleasantly numb to the sounds of real life. MONO is just the drug to punch a whole through the fog. Like real emotions, MONO’s songs begin soft and gentle only to roar to life in a wave like crescendo of intensity that reverberates through you. Influenced by experimental rock and shoegazing genres, classical music, minimalism, film soundtracks such as the work of Henryk Gorecki, and the American band Sonic Youth. Their sound is infused with the lead and rhythm guitar’s reverb, distortion, and delay “noise” that gives a highly emotional quality to their work. They have been likened to the Scottish band Mogwai but that is an oversimplification of the nuances of this band, which seeks to transcend genre.
Two things. First, this is not an advertorial. We were not compensated for these two pages. We paid, and we are neither contractually nor ethically obliged to pull punches or gild lilies. Second, our hour-long ride on a vintage motorcycle was one of the most interesting things we’ve done in Shanghai in a very long time -- and had it not been we’d not be reporting on it.