Saturday, December 29, 2012

Memories of Pitch Your Culture Funeral Songs

None of us knows death; but we certainly know OF death. This topic was democratically approved by the PyC crew, but was met by potential presenters and/or the potential audience with, well, understandable trepidation; or to be more explicit, a mortal gasp.

The emotion that might provide us with a certain amount of distance from the morbid subject is what we call melancholy; a kind of happiness in the midst of sadness. Isn’t the best thing for a broken heart to go dancing? 

Andrew Guthrie introduction

John Woo's song: "Your Song" by Elton John

John Woo

Sandy Chan's song: "Last Goodbye" by Jeff Buckley

Sandy Chan presenting

Song presented by Edgi: “Shine Like Star” by Primal Scream


Mike Wolfpac

Song presented by Mike Wolfpac不見不散 by Beyond


Paola Sinistera

Song presented by Paola: "El Que Se Va No Hace" by Canelita Medina
(this song is not on youtube! send us an email for more information)


. . . Adam Cheung presented a coda to the evening in which he played a clandestine recording he had made of three female Cantonese speakers sitting in a restaurant and discussing the recent death of a race car driver in Macao (in a crash). While the recording played there was simultaneous English translation shown on screen. Once that poignant recording was finished Adam played "Rider on the Storm" by The Doors while he typed his feelings and thoughts about the recording and life and death LIVE on the screen as the song played.

November 30 2012, Culture Club, Central Hong Kong

Friday, November 16, 2012

PitchYrCulture #6 – A Song for My Funeral

Event Name: Pitch Your Culture Mix #6: A Song for My Funeral:
a hit song when I’m long gone

Venue: Culture Club, Lower Elgin Street, Central, Hong Kong

Date & Time: Friday, November 30, 8pm

Free and open to the public
After five highly successful PitchYrCulture events in both Hong Kong and Shenzhen, the event returns to Culture Club in Central, Hong Kong with PitchYrCulture #6. Six to eight invited presenters will explain a particular song within the confines of that song’s time limit. The theme for this event is A Song for my Funeral: A Hit Song When I’m Long Gone.

While presenters have to pick one song that most fits the theme, with the concept of Desert Island Discs in mind (the ‘ultimate song’), it makes sense to consider funereal celebrations, a circumstance that allows for a certain amount of preparation, if not a list that the living can refer to, in this case - a ‘last will and playlist’.

The six to eight presenters at PitchYrCulture #6 will pick, explain and play the song that they would like to parallel their ascent, descent (or wherever) beyond this mortal plain.

Scheduled presenters (at this time):

John Woo is an experienced radio programmer.  He hosts a late-night music program on RTHK Radio One featuring nostalgic tunes from Hong Kong and East Asia.

Edgi Wai, editor for, a indie-music webzine based in Hong Kong
Paola Sinisterra, clothing designer for Hong Kong based label Tangram
Sandy Chan hails from New Zealand and is an English teacher, a keen participant of Toastmasters International, and a genuine music enthusiast.

六次分享會. 本次分享會將會有六至八名分享這出席, 每人的分享時間一如既往的不會超過所選曲目的長度. 本次PyC分享主題是: 葬禮之歌.

分享者需選取似是荒島唱片(終極之歌)的最終一曲. 這是得探討的情況: 這其實是葬禮上的一個慶典, 而現在你有條件允許你自己為此準備一個供後人參考的遺囑/最後一個播放列表.

分享者會挑選一首歌曲與觀眾分享, 並且會播放這首屬於他們另一個超越凡人的平行世界的歌曲.

PyC #6 分享節目: 葬禮之歌: 當我不在時, 我的歌仍在
時間: 20121130 (星期五) 8
地點: 香港中環伊利近街15 Culture Club Gallery
語言: 以英語為主


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

PitchYourCulture 15 September 2012: The Shenzhen Edition

By Bing Czeng

After organizing four amazing PyC events in Hong Kong where we have had a lot of fun, we decided to take this HK-based event across the border to Shenzhen where we fell in love with an artsy book cafe named Old Heaven Book Store, located in the eastern part of the city, in an 798-ish artsy area named OCAT. Excited, and with some nerves dancing ala Gangnam style, I began to liaison with the book store and started looking for speakers. In the end we managed to find 3 speakers from Shenzhen and 3 from Hong Kong.

We set the date on 15 September. I did not at first realize that it was on the exact date from one year previous (2011) when we held our first PyC event.

I kicked off the event with an introduction of PitchYourCulture and a brief account of the PyC events in Hong Kong. Not sure how the audience would react. I wanted to inform them as much as possible (but not too much) so they would know what was going to happen. I continued the PyC bilingual “policy” and MCing was conducted in Mandarin supplemented with English.

The theme of the night was “The Most Important Song.

#1) Jiayi: Search for the confidence in the campus life

The PyC Old Heaven edition began with the stories of Jiayi. Jiayi is a Year-4 university student who studies music in Xinghai Conservatory of Music. Like most people in their teens and 20s, she found her most important song randomly via the internet.

Her story began as she entered university where she could not fit in at first, as the environment changed and she nostalgically lingered on the happy memories of her and her schoolmates back in middle school. Her song, Umbrella by Eri Takenaka, helped her through these difficult times with its soothing sound and encouraging lyrics of friendship. She gradually gained confidence in the new life and started to enjoy it. While one song may be just a song for some people, it could be a great encouragement to other people who need to be cheered up.

At the time of the event, the relationship between China and Japan was very tense. There had been riots in Shenzhen earlier where some angry mobs had destroyed Japanese-brand cars on the street. Before sharing her story, Jiayi stated that music should be beyond the boundary of countries and that no politics should be brought into this subject. (ah what a crazy time) The audience seemed calm about this, which was comforting. 

#2) Mike and his Bossa Nova

Next we had Mike’s story. Mike is an editor of His story is simple yet inspiring: one day he lost his job and he broke up with his girlfriend. Being in very low spirit for a few days, he picked up a CD and found a song that brought his feet back to ground: it’s Mondo Grosso’s Show Me Your Love

This bossa nova song gave him much energy as we could feel it through his energetic talk. The audience was gradually heated up by his hyped mood.

Few days after he heard the song, he found a job he loved and he became a fan of bossa nova. 

#3) Alice and her epiphany

Alice graduated from an arts college in Guangzhou where she studied music. And prior to that she had joined different choir groups. Despite her efforts, she failed her entrance exam to her dream college and ended up in a different one. During the first year she was very depressed, yet it was – again – the music that helped her reflect on her life. Kelly Poon’s Oblivion taught her about how to let go of the past that made her unhappy and cherish what she had now. The experience of letting go was world-shaking for her in her late teens, but through the painful hardship she finally saw the light in her life.

For her, it is exactly the flaws in life that made her see more of the other sides of life. It is acceptable to look back on our past, but we should not live there.

#4) Yi Chen: Struggle as an Indie Singer-Songwriter

As an independent singer-songwriter, YiChen has experienced hardship since he started playing music in high school. Even though he joined several singing contests and had learned to play guitar, he eventually went to Beijing to study law so that he could fulfill his parents’ expectation. 

After graduation, he did not forget his dream about being a singer. Growing up in the dry dessert area in the Northwestern part of China, YiChen was drawn to the scenery of the sea, which he had never seen. He brought a one-way ticket to Shenzhen and started his life here. He has since taken many small jobs, including singing in bars.

Later he quit his jobs and became an independent singer. Through hard work he managed to produce two albums with songs all written, sung and produced by himself. Now he has his own studio and performs almost every day.

The important song for him is Tsai Chin’s Zhangsan’s Song. YiChen first encountered this song when he was learning to play guitar. This song has inspired him to go out and see, especially this part in the song:
I would like to take you and fly away, to everywhere in the world
we would fly to the places far far away and have a look
This world isn’t that sad. It is still full of light.

As a singer-songer, he always performs his own songs. But when receiving a request to sing another’s song, Zhangsan’s Song has to be the one, as he wishes to inspire other people to fulfill their dreams with his love for this song and for music.

Let’s hope his story inspire more people to pursue their dreams.

#5) Yang Jing’s Uygur Identity

YangJing is an editor in a publishing office, yet her sense goes beyond the words. Despite being a Han ethnic, she grew up in Xijiang Province in western part of China, where the majority of the people are Uygur who are Islamic. Yang Jing often endures the stereotype “terrorist” and “thief” against Uygur, and it went as far as her being questioned whether she’s terrorist at the China customs. YangJing showcased the discrimination against people from XinJiang by listing stereotypes and misunderstanding about people living in Uygur: people from Xin Jiang were almost always labeled “thief” by larger cities in the eastern part of China, and most Uygurs were often associated to terrorists due to some riots started by few Uygurs who seek independence.

However, apart from the ignorance/nonchalance concerning the Uygur culture in the rest of China, Uygurs themselves also face identification crisis/confusion. In order to be recognised as Uygur, they even have to dress up as other ethnic groups whose dress resembles theirs. 

The song she chose, Lift Up Your Veil , was a Uygur-style pop song composed by a Han Chinese. This song reminds people of Xing Jiang, but ironically the lyrics show much disrespect to Islamic culture. This song, as explained by Yang Jing, wasn’t her important song, but it is very important to Uygur and (Han) Chinese. The video of the song filled the event with the erotic mood with ridicule of the singer dressed up like a cowboy and dancing in the Mongolian-like grassland. Yang Jing hoped to make people review their perspectives on this long-neglected controversy.

#6) The thunder-stealing present of Hendrix

Our last presenter of the event, Andrew Guthrie, the founder of PitchYourCulture,  made himself the “headliner” by imitating what Jimi Hendrix did at Woodstock: insisting on being the last one on stage. Andrew introduced Hendrix’s journey to stardom which relied on his talent in finding different sounds as well as musical notes. While the popular genres of music in the late1950’s in America were Blues, Jazz and Rock, Hendrix mixed them together and gave life to a new form, and thus became one of the best known electric guitarists. The song started with a dialogue between Jimi Hendrix and his manager Chas Chandler based on the TV show Star Trek. Then the listener was free to travel from outer space into their inner space and through the musical groove and the raw feedback of the electric guitar.In the late 1960’s the movements for liberation were sprouting, and Hendrix’s song Third Stone From The Sun, (according to an account from one of Andrew’s American colleague) complimented two people reaching simultaneous orgasm . 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

PyC coming to Shenzhen on September 15!

活動時間: 二零一二年九月十五日 () 晚上8時至10
Time: 8:00pm – 10:00 pm, 15 September 2012

活動地點: 舊天堂書店
(深圳市華僑城創意園园二期A5120# 電話: (0086) 075586148090)
Venue: Old Heaven Book Café
 (120, Building A5, Oct-Loft Phase 2, Shenzhen Tel: (0086) 0755-86148090)

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

6 presenters and 12 images from Over-It-All, May 4 2012

This was the last in a cycle of PyC themes. PitchYrCulture was started in August of 2011, and at first we thought we could do it every month! But we have done a PitchYrCulture four times, on September 16 and November 11 in 2011 and February 17, and May 4 in 2012.

Our three initial themes were supposed to represent three phases (or ages) in musical development. Each presenter had a relative easy or difficult time in adopting these themes and indeed, creatively adjusting to the PyC format.

It should be well known by now that fundamental format of PyC is that the presenter CANNOT SPEAK/PRESENT LONGER THAN THE SONG THEY PRESENT.  But there is another not as well noted aspect to PyC: each presenter should create a succinct and entertaining presentation that adapts and enhances the possibilities of the interaction between a live performer and a projected set of images (or texts).

Our three themes were: Before-It-All, where we did see the first wave of great creative outbursts, but presenters interpreted the theme via a wide range of ages, though we did have a few “children’s songs”. 

Into-It-All was easy enough for the presenter’s to locate, and we also had great and varied interpretations of the theme and the format. 

And finally Over-It-All (please note that we also collaborated with Social Media Week in HK for a one-off event). Over-It-All was perhaps the most difficult (and potentially sad) theme to interpret. Over-It-All was perhaps the most difficult (and potentially sad) theme to interpret. (Over-It-All theme explanation)

Paul DuPont, the out-of-the-crowd invitee (you say “hello” after a PyC and then “I want to do it”) presented a song/genre easily relevant to the Over-It-All theme - a Hip Hop song, a genre subject to endlessly contentious debates about when it died (or did it die?). And indeed one of the performers of this song, Notorious BIG, is somewhat famous for being dead (murdered).  Paul nicely encapsulated this song’s moment in Hip Hop, which some cite as part of the “the golden era”.

Paul explained this phase of Hip Hop by mentioning information about the lyrical shifts in Hip Hop, the East Coast / West Coast dichotomy, and the excess of certain players, most notably Puff Daddy and Mase’s role in the presented song, which when compared with Notorious BIG contribution is akin to Jim Carrey (Dumb and Dumber) appearing in The Godfather (with Marlon Brando).

Nadim Abbas practically went back to the first theme while bringing it up to the last. One gets over it all when we move from the head aching jingles of childhood, growing up and into the more complex musical structures of adulthood.

But part of Nadim’s disillusionment/ironic amusement with "Cha-La Head-Cha-La" was the globalization of the product realized through T-Shirt/logo merchandising and Spanish dubbed versions of the anime’s original theme song.


Joao Vasco Paiva flipped the jingle on its head while sticking with its terse length. Presenting a 45 song Brazilian hardcore song, he gave a brief history of the Punk sub-genre known as “Hardcore” while explaining the song’s political significance and context. Have we forgotten that in 1983 Brazil was living under a military dictatorship that was paranoid enough to suppress rock/pop culture/music?

Garotos Podres adapted to this by inserting homonyms into its fast and furious songs. “Maldita Policia (Damn Police) “ became “Maldita Preguiça (Damned Laziness) “. Even so, in sticking with the Over-It-All theme, Joao mentioned that he was over the political or cultural aspirations of Hardcore given in the limits of its aesthetic.

“Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana

Tilly hit on the Over-It-All theme in a few ways, one of which highlighted how music distribution and promotion was radically altered due to the internet, especially for a young person living in Perth, Australia, which pre-internet, had two broadcast TV stations making MTV a focal point for what was supposedly “cool” in music.

The second point to Tilly’s presentation was getting-over the glorious martyrdom of self-destructing rock stars, some of whom, in particular Mr. Kurt Cobain, were so heavily promoted by MTV as “hip and happening”. Tilly noted that once the internet loosened up what could be or should be focused on in music, in particular any force-fed idea of “cool” it became an almost overwhelming task for the individual’s search for “my music”.

Adam Lee, the second staff member of the online indie music magazine to present at a PyC, picked the Brit-Pop band Suede as an example of music that fell out of his favor. Adam said (among other things) in Cantonese.

當時認識Suede,就多得他們的其中的一張專輯《Coming Up》,當時一聽就愛上之。破格的曲風,還有他們黑衣示人的形象已令我印象深刻,有很酷的感覺。而且當時的同學有些是喜愛他們的,因而成為同學間茶餘飯後的討論話題。當時在這專輯裡多的曲目當中,喜愛的除了有〈The Beautiful Ones〉,還有〈Saturday Night〉等,從那時起就成了他們的樂迷!

Over-It-All’s last presenter, Calvin Wong, appropriately picked a melancholic song (for the sad theme) which he also used to exemplify as an alternate song-writing method to “beat based” music. 

First giving us some background to the unidentified song that he first heard and then had to track down after hearing on British radio, Calvin reversed the Over-It-All theme and presented a song he identified as getting-over-the-usual. 


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Line Up for PyC#4 on May 4 at Culture Club

Here's the line-up  for Over-It-All (see description below). Put it on your calendar now! 

Adam Lee is a member of the web music magazine "Mugazine" which hopes to spread “Indie” rock (and other genres) into the confines of Hong Kong and greater Asia.

Calvin Wong has been involved in the Hong Kong music scene for many years, both as a promoter and musician. He is the A&R for the Underground (, contributor to local music news source Bunny Warren (, as well as co-host to the premier indie band program Underground Battlefield on online radio platform Radiodada (

João Vasco Paiva is a Portuguese artist based in Hong Kong since 2006.
His work has been presented in several exhibitions around the world. Most recently he had a solo show at the Saamlung Gallery in Hong Kong. Since 2008 he has been an instructor at the School of Creative Media, CUHK, and a lecturer at the Hong Kong Art School.

Nadim Abbas is a Hong Kong born and based artist. He has shown extensively in Hong Kong in various group shows in galleries such as 
Osage Kwun Tong, Para/Site Art Space, and 1a Space. He also contributed to the Louis Vuitton: A Passion for Creation exhibition at the Hong Kong Museum of Art. His most recent  solo exhibition, "Cataract", was held at both EXPERIMENTA & Gallery EXIT. He is currently teaching at Hong Kong Art School  and The School of Creative Media, CUHK. 

Paul du Pont is a New York born blues guitarist, drummer and singer.  A recent newcomer to Hong Kong as co-founder of Vox, a company that manages supply chains for mobile networks in places few have heard of, he can often be found in studios around HK, white Stratocaster in hand, cranked to 11.

Australian-born singer-song writer, Tilly, moved to Hong Kong in 2008 with her day job building solar power stations across Asia. What was supposed to be a two-year stint has now stretched into a four-year adventure in this dynamic city, helped along by her involvement in the burgeoning local indie music scene. Tilly performs regularly as a solo artist and also fronts local band; Who Shot Holga?.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Next PyC on May 4 2012!

Friday, May 4, 8pm
Culture Club, Lower Elgin Street, Central Hong Kong
Presenters are listed at this link: click

After three highly successful events of the PitchYrCulture format, in which 6 – 8 individuals explain a particular song within the confines of that song’s time limit, PitchYrCulture returns to its first venue, Culture Club in Central, Hong Kong for another exciting program involving the theme:

Over-It-All : And finally, you either have seen it all (or you think you have) and you start to become disillusioned with what is ‘out there’. You might have even dug out some of your old favourites and felt disbelief at your old tastes! This program will examine songs, genres and trends that you used hold in high esteem, but that over time lost their shine, that you now find embarrassing and/or irrelevant.  

Over-it-all/ 當一切已成往事

香港中環伊利近街15 Culture Club

最後, 當你(以為自己)經歷所有, 一切幻滅如煙消. 你開始看清事實, 或許再也不沉迷於舊時愛曲, 並且懷疑自己的品味.

本次分享將回顧你以前十分喜歡的歌曲/風格/潮流. 時光消磨了它們的光輝, 令當下的你覺得尷尬, 甚至不認同以前的自己.