PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 22 May, 2013, 10:22am
UPDATED : Thursday, 29 August, 2013, 4:13am

Video: Ai Weiwei releases heavy metal song about his incarceration


Patrick Boehler has published on China and Southeast Asia in four languages for publications in the US, Europe and Asia. After stints with Austria's ministries of defence and foreign affairs in Vienna and Beijing, he began his reporting career in Kuala Lumpur with the Malaysian online news portal Malaysiakini and, later, The Irrawaddy Magazine, a Myanmar exile publication in Thailand. He holds a doctorate in political science and has taught journalism at the University of Hong Kong. Follow him on Twitter: @mrbaopanrui

Ai Weiwei, China's most renowned dissident artist, has released a new heavy metal song as the first part of his The Divine Comedy music album on Wednesday.

The title of the album is a reference to the 14th century poem by Dante, in which the Florentine writer vividly depicts levels of hell, purgatory and heaven. In Dumbass, Ai tells the story of his own 81-day extrajudicial detention in 2011.

"Being in that environment makes me realise that for these people, the only available release or means to kill time is music," the 55-year-old Beijing-based artist said in a press release.

"I felt deeply sorry that I couldn’t [sing there]. Either I was not in the mood or I didn’t think I could sing. The only songs I knew were the revolutionary ones. It is the same for many Chinese people; we had to memorise every red song. Creating music is a way to break through that situation."

Ai sings his own lyrics to music by Zuoxiao Zuzhou, one of China's most renowned folk singer-songwriters.



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