GILIGULU VOL 1: DIM SUM ALBUM LAUNCH
The indie music scene in Hong Kong is not widely known. But Chinese-American Edwin Lo thinks he's hit on a good way to promote it — along with local art and food — to local music fans, and anyone else interested in a musical alternative to Canto-pop.
Lo, the founder of Bitetone, which manages indie bands, says it all started with a gift from a friend to his sister. "The friend, who was in Iceland, bought her an Icelandic indie music compilation. She really enjoyed it, and thought I should check it out," he says. "I showed it to my music friends while we were eating at a cha chaan teng, and they thought it would be a great to do a Hong Kong version."
Lo is an indie music promoter, and says not many people are aware of Hong Kong's indie music scene. He thinks this compilation, titled Giligulu, which in Cantonese translates as "gobbledygook", will appeal to a broader audience.
"I have a lot of friends who say Hong Kong doesn't have any cool music, and I tell them it's because they don't know where to find it. Here we hope to give them a taste of it, and make it more accessible."
The songs are all about Hong Kong. "If you read the lyrics, it's like a story," Lo says. Groups participating include lo-fi alternative rockers Dada Baba, alt-metal band Chock Ma, and Cantonese reggae sextet Sensi Lion. One track is called Bird Speech, and evokes the atmosphere of Bird Street in Mong Kok, where old men chat and play chess.
Another is called LKF, and is about Lan Kwai Fong by Kevin Tsui Ka-ho. Tsui encouraged a group of musicians — including jazz guitarist Teriver Cheung and Tsui Chin-hung — to jam together to give an impression of the sounds of Hong Kong nightlife in small alleyways from late night until early morning when the trams start running.
The album concept morphed into an idea that included more than just music. Lo decided to include art and food. When it comes to Hong Kong, Lo says dim sum is the first thing that springs to mind. "Food and music go well together because both are fun and relaxing. We thought of creating recipe cards so people can cook and play the music at the same time," he says.
Lo approached graphic artist and illustrator Overload Dance to design the album cover and recipe cards.
"He likes to listen to indie music, and his characters seem to like to eat and enjoy life," the promoter says.
Overload Dance enjoyed the challenge of designing an album cover. "The project also aims to promote independent music in Hong Kong, which is really meaningful," he says. There are absurd images of chubby people on the recipe cards, including one whose skin is red from being steamed next to a bao, and a woman in a cup of milk tea.
"I wanted to create something memorable," Overload Dance says. "You might not remember the food on the cards, but you will remember those characters."
Lo says Giligulu combines modern subcultures with heritage. "It's a jam session of different things, and that makes it interesting. Hong Kong can be hip and unorthodox, too."
Giligulu launch party will be held September 13 at the Fringe Club, where an exhibition of Overload Dance's work will be shown from September 7-19. For more details, go to facebook.com/bitetone