Swiss-Sino Cultural Events 2002


About their concerts in Switzerland - March 2002

Second Hand Roses ist eine junge Band, welche im August 2000 gegründet wurde. 
Die 5 Musiker treten vorwiegend in Clubs und Musiklokalen in Beijing auf, wo sie auch schon Konzerte gemeinsam mit Rockgrössen wie Cui Jian gegeben haben.

Zusammensetzung der Band (alles Männer):

  • Liang Long, 25, Gesang, Gitarre
  • Wang Yuqi, 23, Lead Gitarre
  • Wu Zekun, 24, Suona (traditionelles chinesisches Blasinstrument)
  • Chen Jin, 35, Bassgitarre
  • Zhang Yue, 27, Schlagzeug


Der eigentümliche Gesang von Second Hand Roses basiert auf der alten Tradition des gesangsartigen Geschichtenerzählens im Nordost Chinas (er ren zhuan). Während traditionellerweise diese Geschichten in einem Sprechgesang von je einem Mann und einer Frau vorgetragen werden, gibt es bei Second Hand Roses nur einen Sänger, Liang Long, welcher sich auf der Bühne jedoch als Frau präsentiert. Dies erinnert wiederum an die Tradition der Pekingoper, wo die Frauenrollen durch Männer gespielt wurden.
Liang Long trägt das traditionelle, auf der Seite hochgeschlitzte Frauenkleid, den Qipao, sowie eine Frauenfrisur und ein Make up, für welches ein Maskenbilder vor jedem Auftritt eine Stunde Arbeit leisten muss. 
Der Gesang in nordostchinesischem Dialekt ist derb, handelt meist von der Beziehung zwischen Mann und Frau und ist vom Inhalt her oft zweideutig und anzüglich.

Das Musikinstrumentarium entspricht bis auf die Suona, einem althergebrachten chinesischen Blasinstrument, weitgehend dem einer traditionellen Rockband.

Second Hand Roses verbindet Elemente chinesischer Volkskultur mit Rockmusik, wie sie aus den Westen in China bekannt wurde. Daraus ergibt sich eine sehr eigenwillige und charaktervolle Rockmusik mit chinesischer Eigenart.

Second Hand Roses hat sich in der modernen Musikszene in Beijing innert kurzer Zeit einen Namen geschaffen und gilt als eine der innovativsten Gruppen in der bunten und vielfältigen Rockszene von China.


About their concerts in Switzerland - March 2002

Sanlian Life Weekly, No. 16 2002

Second Hand Roses bloom in Switzerland

"Our life train is to leave, to the destination of happiness;
our love train is to leave, to the destination of eternity"

Journalist: Wang Xiaofeng

March 22nd, 2002, at Kleine Scheidegg, a place at about 2,000 meters over sea level in the Swiss Alps, a Chinese man who was dressed like a woman from the countryside of north-east China, with red jacket and green trousers, was standing on the stage and gave the audience of 4000-5000 people a rock performance by using the art of "er-ren-zhuan" of which the audience never had heard before.

This is the annual Snowopen Air in Switzerland. As the only foreign band of this year's music festival, Second Hand Rose took Switzerland by storm with their music. News concerning their performance was broadcasted in the evening news right after news about the situation in Afghanistan on Swiss TV. A Swiss newspaper wrote the following report about Second Hand Rose: "They are recognised in China as a band with a broad spectrum of changing style. From their name - Second Hand Rose - you can guess already their flair for playing with words. This is exactly the style of the guitar player and lead vocalist Liang Long in his lyrics, which are soaked with a bitter-ironic flavour. This 25 years old young man integrates his unique talking and singing style into the traditional er-ren-zhuan, an art of story telling from the Northeast of China, which is still popular nowadays. He plays both the roles of male and female. That is why he always acts on the stage as a beautiful-dressed and well made-up woman. It is linked to the name of the band and on the other hand reminds somewhat of the old tradition of male playing a reversed role as a female in Peking opera".

When Second Hand Rose returned to Beijing, the journalist learned from their agent Niu Jiawei a lot of information concerning their performance at the "Snowopen Air".

For Swiss people, they do not have much knowledge about Chinese musicians, except Cui Jian, who has already given concerts in Switzerland. It was the first time that Liang Long (Second Hand Roses) gave concerts outside of China and it's also the first time for Swiss people to know er-ren-zhuan and Chinese traditional musical instruments like Suona, Hulusi and Sheng.

The band found the festival was very well promoted when they arrived in Switzerland. They were excited when they saw on the streets the big poster with their picture. In order to make Second Hand Rose known to the Swiss audience, the organiser made a special introduction about the band on Internet and translated some of their songs into German.

The Alps are crossing Switzerland creating the conditions for ice sport and ice culture of Switzerland. "Snowpen Air" is probably the music festival on the highest point about sea level in the world. The festival this year has 4 bands participating including Swiss famous rock band "Gotthard" whose popularity and style is similar to the Chinese band "Heibao". Another female singer is Sina whose popularity and status in Switzerland is like Tian Zhen and Na Ying in China. The tour through Switzerland of Second Hand Rose (except the Snowpen Air there were two more concert evenings) was meant also for warming up the stage for Sina. However, beyond the expectation of this "Swiss Tian Zhen", her performance every time had to be postponed for 10 minutes since Second Hand Rose was well received by the audience. But Sina was satisfied with her co-operation with Second Hand Rose and deemed it to be a "beautiful ending of her spring tour". As a return, Sina will visit China in September and give concerts in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou in cooperation with Second Hand Rose.

The reason why Second Hand Rose was well received is because the audience thinks they are fresh. Liang Long can not speak any English nor German and among the audience there are no more then maybe 20 persons who understand Chinese. It is not language but music and the performing style which conquered the audience. The band gave two encores at the last performance; this is where the great fascination of Chinese traditional music lies.

Local newspapers gave Second Hand Rose the following comments: "Though it will take some time for a western audience to adapt to the talking and singing of Second Hand Rose, yet their music is the traditional rock music with changeable and thoughtful poetic words and an intense eruption of emotion. There might be some Chinese folk music mixed into their music. However, the only thing which makes people feel uncommon is the using of the wooden instrument Suona, which sounds similar to the oboe. Liang Long uses irony and pun to express the chase of money and love and to describe the living environment in which people fear that old customs and safety will disappear. His style can easily be associated to the western rock music tradition."

After the performance, the band of Sina told Second Hand Rose: "You are Red Hot Chilli Peppers (well-known American rock band) in China". Someone even joked with them: "You can make a living now in Switzerland".
At present, Second Hand Rose is the most outstanding among those Chinese rock bands which did not publish any records so far. From Liang Long's seductive expression on the stage, the audience experiences again the charm of popular culture.

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