Dream of sinofornication…

I went to Beijing’s MIDI music festival over the October festival: a miniature Glastonbury (tents and all), with angrier music and more meat-on-a-stick. The form of the event rung a familiar bell after English or American festivals – wide clean stages, a camera on a crane, sponsorship from HP. But the music was all China. And, in the words of a friend, ‘it rocked’.

At one moment in the night, I found myself listening to the tune of ‘Californication’, behind new rap lyrics in Mandarin. A fine song to nod your head to, and silently curse your terrible Chinese, ignorant as I was to what the rapper was talking about. So instead I thought: if the Red Hot Chili Pepper’s original was (among other things) about the cultural and lifestyle ‘pull’ California exerted on the rest of the world (‘dream of Californication’) at the end of the twentieth century (according to Californians…), then Beijing in the twenty-first is giving it a run for its money. This music at this festival – and the numbers of young foreigners coming to China for its modern not ancient culture – is testament to it.

The feel of the festival as a whole might have been imported from the West, but this song was a Chinese band making an American tune their own not aping it. It also reminded me that the phrase ‘across the pond’ is no longer about the US and Europe being the world’s two biggest players. There’s a new Pacific pond now.

I was too slow on the draw with my gadget to record the Californication cover, but I got the tune following it, which will give an impression of the festival. I’ll upload it as soon as I defang some teething problems with the internet connection in my flat.

Update: Here is the audio file: Midi