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Modern music that displays traditional chinese influence


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I really like traditional Chinese instruments and music, and I LOVE it when modern music is blended with strong traditional Chinese influences. Here is a list of some songs/artists I have found that fit that description. I hope other members chime in with their own finds! In the meantime, for your listening pleasure:


莫负少年郎绝世舞姬打虎上山寄长歌 by 张晓涵   

Genre: Pop   Description: Modern pop with strong vocals heavily influenced by Beijing opera. Includes some usage of traditional Chinese instruments. Out of all of the musicians and songs I've listed in this post, I think these are my favorite. It gives a glimpse into what modern pop might have been if it had largely developed in, and been popularized by, China.


芒种 by 赵方婧

Genre: Pop   Description: Modern pop. This one displays much less influence than the song above. Influence is largely limited to minor accompaniment by a 古筝


寄明月 by SING女團

Genre: Pop   Description: Very similar to the above. Features minor accompaniment by 古筝. 


再次来临 by 谢天笑

Genre: Indie rock   Description: Uses Chinese instruments to break up the melody of an (imo) excellent indie rock song.


末裔 (Album) by 末裔  

Genre: Metal   Description: This album (which includes a beautiful Chinese symphonic intro track) is gold for any fan of heavy metal. The whole album contains clear traditional Chinese influence. Listen carefully for the use of the classic pentatonic scale at key parts of some the songs, as well as occasional use of Chinese instruments. Of particular note is the opening track, 又见茉莉花, which makes heavy reference to the folk song 茉莉花, as well as 亿前年之恋, which makes extensive use of Chinese instrumentation.


一念山河 by 西瓜JUN

Genre: 中国风   Description: Did you know this genre existed? If you didn't, you should. There's a whole genre of soft pop that makes heavy use of traditional Chinese music and the pentatonic scale. This song is a classic example. 


锦鲤抄 by 银临

Genre: 中国风   Description: Uses 二胡 and the pentatonic scale. Very uplifting music.


人间惊鸿客; 渡凉关南山雪 by  叶里

Genre: 中国风   Description: Makes use of a whole suite of instruments (琵琶,长笛,古筝) as well as the pentatonic scale


忘塵如羨 by 老虎歐巴

Genre: 中国风    Description: standard 中国风, I don't think this one needs much description




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Going back to the 90s: a guy called 何勇 must have some Chinese instruments on the very cool track 幽灵: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5_vXMLXA3Eg

His father was a musician, here is is performing with his son on some long-Chinese-guitar-like-thing (not sure how to write that in Chinese, maybe 三弦? ) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=16z62N514kU

Also on that video is a 笛子 played by 窦唯, who often gets his 笛 out: here it is with 陈琳: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tG8q3lB0oLQ

And here he is all experimental: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=up8Mzoxv2UM





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  • 2 weeks later...

I asked a related question a few years back and found these:


I quite liked the Guzz and Jyun Jyun tracks on this album  https://dohits.bandcamp.com/album/do-hits-year-of-the-rooster 

(Dohits is a label out of Beijing but they seem to release only sporadically)


Some stuff in the later part of this thread maybe: https://www.chinese-forums.com/forums/topic/45149-chinese-industrial-experimental-electronic/#comment-483327


Also worth following Radiichina on WeChat and other social media channels, they seem to have their fingers on the pulse.

See also Meuko Meuko out of Taiwan depending on how hardcore you want it... :)



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Not Chinese — they're indigenous Ainu from Japan — but similar instruments in some ways to traditional Chinese (and Nepalese), and I love these guys... Oki Dub Ainu Band. 

This dubby wig-out in 17/8 called Kon Kon time is great.

You can preview/buy it here: https://okidub.bandcamp.com/track/kon-kon 

It's on the Album Sakhalin Rock which is also on iTunes. 

According to the Bandcamp blurb: OKI DUB AINU BAND features Tonkori, the traditional stringed instrument of the Karafuto Ainu in a band setting with drums, bass, keyboard and heavy dub sound.


Another good thing about Bandcamp: it has a section at the bottom of each page with "if you like this you may also like..."



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