Eastern Legends is the internationally-acclaimed sizhu musical group from Taiwan’s Chai Found Music Workshop. The six girl and one boy band plays Chinese chamber music and fuses traditional Asian music with other popular music genres of today.
They were invited by the Ottawa Chamber Music Society to come to Canada to perform at the CIBC LunarFest 2013 both in the Harbourfront Centre in Toronto and the Vancouver Art Gallery in Vancouver in Feb 2013 to coincide with the celebration of the Lunar New Year or the Year of the Snake.
The band employ a wide variety of Chinese musical instruments such as the Erhu 二胡, Pipa 琵琶, Guzheng 古箏, Yueqin 月琴, Se 瑟, Dizi 笛子, Xiao 簫, Laba 喇叭 and the like. The result is a mix of traditional Asian melody with an occasional best of rap and Hip-Hop.
LuarFest 2013 is mainly a Taiwanese and Korean culture showcase integrated with plenty of other Asian multicultural elements to delight kids and adults from all communities to celebrate the lunar new year.
The 4th Annual Vancouver Chinese Cultural Festival 中国文化节 (VCCF) Combined Richmond Lantern Festival 列治文中秋灯节 with Cultural Days to Celebrate Mid-Autumn Festival. Organizers & dignitaries: 中国驻温哥华总领事刘菲 Liu Fei, Vancouver Chinese Consul General, 加拿大中国文化促进会会长李琦 Ricky Li, 永远荣誉会长谢伯衡 Pak Hang Tse, 加拿大中国文化促进会名誉会长叶洪涛 Hongtao Ye and others.
Inspired by the UNESCO Convention for the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, of which Canada is a founding member, Culture Days is a Canada-wide volunteer-focused and citizens enabled cultural program aimed at raising the awareness, accessibility, participation and engagement of all Canadians in the arts and cultural life of their communities.
Launched in 2010, this year’s Culture Days fall on the weekend from Sep 28-30, 2012. In the Greater Vancouver area alone, there are no less than fifty culturally focused programs including dance performances, concerts, art exhibits, carving, historical walking tour, books fair, poetry-reading etc.
Richmond BC has one of the largest and most vibrant Chinese communities in the country. To help celebrate Culture Days, the Association of Chinese Cultural Promotion Canada 加拿大中国文化促进会 organized the Richmond Lantern Festival 列治文中秋灯节 to coincide with the Mid-Autumn Festival (often lovingly-referred to as the Mooncake Festival) that is a very popular celebration occasion in China and many parts of Asia.
In 2009, the Vancouver Chinese Cultural Festival (VCCF) 中国文化节 has its inaugural Chinese cultural fair at the BC Place Plaza of Nations in downtown Vancouver and the festivities get even bigger this year with the Richmond Antiques RoadShow & Art Collection Fair also joining.
Much of the 4th annual VCCF and Cultural Days weekend in Richmond BC took place at Minoru Park, a nice neighborhood park within a short walking distance from the Brighouse Skytrain station and Richmond Centre Mall. The three-day festival offered a full program of activities. Much of that centered on a performance stage for music and dance by local and invited guests from China. There was even a mini-fashion show and ticketed events offsite as well. Under a large white tent, a book and culture fair and a Chinese artwork collection exhibit attracted many curious minds interested the 5,000 years of Chinese history and cultural treasures.
A group of longtime actors, singers and performers from the Hong Kong movie and TV industry (many of whom now call Vancouver or Richmond home) made an appearance to add an extra bit of glamour and excitement. A bonfire party wrapped up a weekend of Chinese cultural celebration on Sunday night (Sep 30th, 2012) at 8PM.
The weekend of events has an estimated 30,000 people participating. Visitors enjoyed the opportunity to experience the Mid-Autumn Festival and have their mooncake and eat it too.
[Photos & text by Ray Van Eng | www.vancouver21.com ]
The GRAND Wedding Show (Sep 15-16, 2012) is an annual event designed to meet the needs of the soon-to-be-married couples who are planning their nuptials. A highlight of the show is the bridal gown fashion runway which features a mix of white wedding gowns, Asian qipao-style cheongsams and South Asian sari-themed dresses for a multicultural flavor that is very much in demand in today’s marketplace. The event is held at the Trade ad Convention Center East at Canada Place in Vancouver Canada from Sep 15-16, 2012.
Sari & Qipao Bridal Fashion @ Grand Wedding Show 2012 Vancouver
TELUS TaiwanFest 2012 Vancouver (Sep 01-03, 2012). 硏科台灣文化節
Taiwanese American singer/songwriter Yen-J 嚴爵 performed at TaiwanFest 2012 Vancouver on Sep 02, 2012. The Prince of New Creation, as he is known in Taiwan ROC, sang many of his signature songs including Not Alone Again 又不是這樣就不孤獨, 困在台北, 明星的愛, 真的, 好的事情 etc. featuring his unique blend of New Jazz, Hip Hop, Rock & Asian Mandopop.
[All Videos by Ray Van Eng | www.vancouver21.com ]
嚴爵 Farewell Song 好的事情
Vancouver Art Gallery, 800 W. Georgia St. Vancouver, BC
The Nanjing Acrobat Troupe 南京市杂技团 from China came to perform at the Surrey Fusion Festival 2012 on July 21, 2012. The lady contortionist and her bodily deformity defy human body structure and give new meaning to being flexible. She appeared as part of a presentation together with the Wuxi Chinese Cultural Troupe无锡中国文化团 from Jiangsu江苏省.
The well-known Chinese cultural song and dance musical group has travelled and performed around the world. They recently toured Canada in July 2012 to present ‘Beautiful South China’ to audiences in Ottawa, Moncton, Halifax, Montreal and Calgary. Their appearance with the Nanjing Acrobatic Troupe in Surrey, BC seemed like an unscheduled visit.
A Video by Ray Van Eng – Nanjing Acrobatics
Kang Ding Love Song 康定情歌 – Wuxi Song & Dance Group
That Far Away Place 在那遥远的地方 Wuxi Song & Dance Group
Canadian indie rock band Walk Off The Earth played their famous Gotye’s cover song ‘Somebody That I Used To Know” with five band members playing on the same guitar. They also belted out an original number ‘Summer Vibe’ to a very appreciative audience at Holland Park Concord Pacific World Music Stage during the Surrey Fusion Festival 2012 on July 21, 2012.
The band came from Burlington, Ontario. Band members include Gianni Luminati, Sarah Nicole Blackwood, Ryan Marshall, Mike Taylor and Joel Cassady. Besides the guitar, piano, drums and other instruments, the band also plays other unconventional musical tools including the Ukulele and the Theremin, as well as looping samples.
They became a Youtube sensation when their covered versions such as ‘Backin’ Up’ from The Gregory Brothers, Adele’s ‘Someone Like You’, The Beatles ‘From Me To You’ and others hit the Internet, gaining them millions upon millions of views.
the Surrey Fusion Festival 2012 (July 21-22, 2012 at Holland Park) has a multicultural flavor that celebrates the city’s diverse communities i.e. South Asian, Indian, Punjabi, Asian, Chinese, The Philippines, South East Asian, Latino, South American and European.
This year’s headliners include Los Lobos, Wuxi Chinese Cultural Troupe, Celebration Dance Team, Walk Off The Earth, Indianation, Nanjing Acrobat Group, Delphi 2 Dublin, Polonez, Briga, Good For Grapes and many other groups. There will also a Parade of Flags which has become one of the highlights of the family-friendly festival.
VIDEO – Walk Off The Earth [Somebody That I Used To Know]
VIDEO – Walk Off The Earth [Summer Vibe]
VIDEO – Walk off the Earth – Magic & Corner of Queen
The Chinese Cultural Centre Museum (CCCM) and the Hanfu (ancient clothes of the Han cultural group which is the largest in China) Culture Society of Vancouver presented the Chinese Hanfu and Culture Exhibition from June 20 to July 14, 2012.
Hanfu 汉服中国传统服饰 has an influence on the Kimono 和服 of Japan or the Hankok 韓服 of Korea. The basic style of the Hanfu was from the Shang Dynasty 戰國 商朝 (16th to 11th century BC). Much of the design stayed the same through to the Zhou Dynasty 周朝 (1046 – 256 BC). Until the Sui 隋朝 (589 AD – 618 AD) and the Tang dynasty 唐朝 (618 – 907 AD), Hanfu saw further refinement in style and the name 唐装 is taken from this period as well.
The exhibition featured Chinese traditional period dresses ranging from the Qin Dynasty 秦朝 to the Ming Dynasty 明朝.In recent years, Hanfu is seeing a renaissance as younger generations both in China and abroad want to re-discover their roots and view this particular style of traditional Chinese clothing as an embodiment of the many virtues of the Han group that symbolizes honesty, good mannerism, refined tastes, well-being, excellent cultural upbringing and other appealing natures.
On closing day July 14, 2012, a Hanfu dance was performed inside the cultural centre museum. But when I brought the models out into the adjacent Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Garden, the dresses and the wearers really came alive. The clock was turned back. I sensed a real potential of a Hanfu Renaissance taking place in Vancouver.
Fashion comes and goes, but a clothing style that comes with a 3,000+ year old tradition has lasting values. It is seeing a comeback.
[Er-hu music by Joanna Wang. You can also catch her act at various Skytrain stations in the downtown area as Ms. Wang is a City of Vancouver-licensed street-performer.]
A Video by Ray Van Eng – Hanfu Renaissance
Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Garden, 578 Carrall Street, Vancouver, BC
One of the thorniest issues between China and Japan is the Nanking Massacre南京大屠杀that happened in 1937 during the Japanese invasion of China. The matter has never been properly addressed or settled and relationship between the two countries has been strained at best for more than 70 years.
Nanking (or pinyin: Nanjing) was the capital of China during the Second World War. It is estimated that about 300,000 civilians who lived there in late 1937 and early 1938 were brutally murdered by Japanese soldiers in that city alone. Elsewhere in China, there were also countless other victims (civilians and foreign and Chinese prisoners of war) that were slaughtered and or grossly mistreated by the Japanese troupes.
The Nanking Massacre, also known as The Rape of Nanking, remains one of the most horrific military acts of war against a civilian population during World War Two. Beyond the murders and looting, there were also tens of thousands of women and girls as young as 12 years old being dragged away from their homes and forced to be ‘Comfort Women’ to service the Japanese Army.
Up to this day, China feels that Japan has not publicly admitted any wrongdoings nor offered any genuine apology. For China, there is no closure. And in 2000, Japan published New History Textbook that were perceived by most scholars both inside and outside of Japan as an attempt by the Japanese right-wing conservative groups to whitewash or rewrite history of the Japanese wartime atrocities. The revisionist textbooks, although only used by a very small minority (less than 1%) of Japanese junior high schools, further aggravated the Chinese government.
Enters China’s most famous director Zhang Yimou 张艺谋 and his newly crafted movie, The Flowers of War 金陵十三钗.
VIDEO – The Flowers of War Trailer
The movie was based on The 13 Women of Nanjing by Shanghai writer Geling Yan严歌苓. The novel is about 13 prostitutes replacing a group of young girls who are hiding inside a church to avoid being captured and sent away to be sexual slaves.
Zhang Yimou’s new movie maybe one of the ways the Beijing government could use to force the Japanese to face up to the wartime atrocities that Japan has committed during the occupation of Nanjing.
Sure, many movies about The Nanking Massacre has been made before. In the last five years alone there have been Nanking (2007), The Truth about Nanjing (2007), City of Life and Death (2009), John Rabe (2009) etc. But this time it is being directed by China’s most internationally acclaimed filmmaker in the most expensive movie that the country has ever produced (with a budget of almost US$100Million). The WWII epic starring Christian Bale, one of the biggest Hollywood stars will compete for recognition in many of the biggest international film awards such as the Golden Globes and The Oscars.
Christian Bale was referred to Zhang Yimou by Steven Spielberg to star in The Flowers of War. Bale played a young boy in Spielberg’s 1987 Empire of The Sun, a movie set in the 1940s in Shanghai during the Japanese invasion of China.
In The Flowers of War, Christian Bale plays a similar real-life role as John Rabe, a Siemens businessman and Nazi sympathizer who witnessed the Nanking Massacre in 1937. Rabe actually wrote German dictator Adolph Hitler and asked the Führer to intervene with the Japanese to stop the horrific raping and killing that went on. With American missionaries such as Minnie Vautrin, John Magee and others, John Rabe helped save some 250,000 Chinese lives by establishing an international safety zone in Nanking. Rabe even opened up his own resident to shelter another few hundreds more. When the Japanese troupes wanted to enter Rabe’s premises, they were stopped at the door when the German engineer showed them his Nazi membership credentials. As a result of his actions, John Rabe was being dubbed as The Good Nazi of Nanking.
However, after the war, John Rabe became impoverished and lived in destitute. For years, the citizens of Nanking and the mayor sent food to support Rabe and his family even after his death in 1950. In 1997, China honored John Rabe as a national hero and moved his tombstone from Berlin to Nanjing.
The Flowers of War has a limited North America run initially. The movie opens in the U.S. on Dec. 21 in New York and Dec 23 in Los Angeles and San Francisco, enough to qualify for competition as The Best Foreign Language Film in the 84th Academy Awards (The Oscars) on Feb 26, 2012.
Photo: John Rabe’s former home in Nanjing during the war. [Credit: Wikipedia CC2.0]
At a networking reception held at the Shaw Tower in downtown Vancouver just one week before her trip to China and India, B.C. Premier Christy Clark addressed the crowd who gathered at the by-invitation only function on Oct 27, 2011 that the provincial government is focusing on Asia and aims to spur more trade opportunities in the Asia Pacific area and create more jobs for British Columbia.
The Premier described Vancouver as an Asian city outside of Asia and that struck an approving note among the crowd of about 50 top business leaders eager to do business in Asia. That is not surprising at all, noting that Chinese, South Asians, East Asians and South-east Asians make up more than half of the population of the city of Vancouver.
Premier Clark’s address last night reflects the same sentiment that the new Federal Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway Edward Fast has expressed a few weeks ago just before he and a Canadian delegation left to visit China on a trade mission.
Asia is where you need to be in global trade and future growth.
And in Asia, business moves at lightning speed. Curtis Mearns of ExoTurbine who is going to Asia with the Premier in the upcoming November trip learned that quickly first-hand. Mearns actually found a potential partner from Guangdong, China interested in signing a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with his green renewable energy company right on the 17th floor of the Shaw Tower shortly after Premier Clark’s pep talk.
Vancouver, Gateway to the Asia Pacific. View from the 17th floor of The Shaw Tower where Premier Clark spoke last night.
The Shaw Tower – 1077 Cordova Street, Vancouver BC
On July 31, 2010, A Quebec team paid tribute to China and lit up the night sky with an explosive firework display for all Vancouver to see. That also concluded Celebration of Light 2010. Now that all four contenders have performed, is it Team USA, Team Spain, Team Mexico or Team (Quebec-China) to win it? All the pyrotechnics experts did their job really well this year. Whoever holds the title is for the judges to decide. One thing’s for sure, the real winners is the Vancouver audience and the many visitors who came for this event. Thanks of course to this year’s four major sponsors: The Keg, London Drugs, HSBC and Concord Pacific. Let’s just hope that this immensely popular Celebration of Light fireworks competition continues to attract corporate sponsors and return stronger as ever next year.
Team Quebec-China Part 1, Celebration of Light 2010 (July 31, 2010)
Team Quebec-China Part 2, Celebration of Light 2010 (July 31, 2010)