Tag Archives | Hong Kong

Hong Kong’s Most Famous Export

There is SO much more to the culture of Hong Kong than the kung fu movie. Still……..
Hong Kong’s film industry started to produce martial arts movies as early as the 1938s, when the Cantonese language film “The Adorned Pavillion” included the martial art of wuxia, which emphasizes chivalrous and philosophical engagement. By the 1970s a Mandarin-based, grittier and more visually dramatic form of “kung fu” replaced it, and with it came astounding global popularity. In 1973 young martial arts movie star Bruce Lee electrified audiences with Enter the Dragon, which was the first ever English language, US-Hong Kong production. (Lee died soon thereafter, unexpectedly and mysteriously.) Multiply talented Jackie Chan (“actor, action choreographer, filmmaker, comedian, director, producer, martial artist, screenwriter, entrepreneur, singer and stunt performer,” says the entry about Chan on Wikipedia) became the next huge Hong Kong kung fu movie star, blending martial arts and comedic timing. Chan’s Hong Kong movies were usually joyful and engaging, toying with the camp that had defined the genre, such as the overused device of the star of the film fending off numerous attackers who come at him one by one. In 2000 Hong Kong (well, actually Taiwan) cinema soared back toward wuxia with Ang Lee’s elegant Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon. Is the scene in this video from Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon the best fight scene ever?

Roman Tam, Grand Godfather of Cantopop

All hail Roman Tam, Cantopop’s “Grand Godfather!”“Cantopop,” music that most often originates in Hong Kong, fuses Cantonese-language music with Western styles such as jazz and rock. It increased in popularity throughout the ’70s when vocalist Roman Tam scored several hits with Cantopop TV theme tunes. In the 1980s, “the Golden Age of Cantopop,” Cantopop record sales boomed, performers like Danny Chan and Teresa Teng, former “Queen of Mandarin Songs,” became Cantopop stars, and Cantopop record companies signed musicians to lucrative contracts. This led to an era in the ’90s in which “Four Heavenly Kings” dominated Cantopop music — Andy Lau, Aaron Kowk, Leon Lai and Jacky Cheung. in this video you’ll see Tam at his 1983 prime.



Settle in for a Long Long Song

Naamyam is a traditional Cantonese form of improvised, performed poetry, which you may find in Hong Kong.

A single vocal performer, perhaps accompanied by an instrument such as a guzheng (bridged zither), vehu (cocunt-shell bowed lute) or vangqin (hammered dulcimer) and percussion instruments called ban (wooden clappers), will sing an epic poetic song, often about lost love. The song may be short — a mere twenty minutes — or long — hundreds of thousands of verses with a performance lasting hundreds of hours. The Naamyam in this video? Just a tiny taste for less than two minutes.