wechat sharing

Frenchman Zhang Si'an's Cultural Alchemy of Poetry and Sound

*His mother knows him as Jean-Sebastien Hery. Beijing's audio illuminati know him as Zhang Si'an, singer and guitarist in a host of fascinating local music projects.* I sometimes meet an expat in Beijing and think, “Square peg, round hole.” They just weren’t made for this city and this time; they can’t feel the rhythm or hear the melody. I seldom see this with the French, who seem to resonate and move with modern China, often creating a whole new sound. One such new sound is Frenchman Jean-Sébastien Héry, Chinese lyricist, singer and guitarist in four extraordinary cross-cultural music projects including: **The Incredible JSB!, the Amazing Insurance Salesman, the Maix Jazz Band and his solo project, [Zhang Si’an](http://www.myspace.com/zsian).** “I discovered the Beijing music scene in 2000 seeing bands such as Wild Children, Water Pushing Melon, Xiao He, and Second-Hand Roses, says Jean-Sébastien, “I used to play in a bar called The River. Playing there and meeting all those talented people was a great experience. I discovered something different than what we had in the West.” This formative experience inspired Jean-Sébastien to reinvent himself as Zhang Si’an, making the curious and perhaps courageous decision to start singing in Chinese. **To date, Zhang Si’an has produced four albums sung almost exclusively in Chinese.** “Back then I thought, ‘Everybody is singing in English, why not try something else?’ Every language has its beauty. I often use Chinese poetry to write songs. I love the way landscapes, feelings, and moods are described in ancient Chinese poems and I try to give those beautiful old words a new shape and sound.” Songs like, “Lotus,” “Xiwang,” and “My Heart Is Dead” reveal the potency of **Jean-Sébastien’s cultural alchemy as he pours ancient Chinese elixirs into Western musical vessels like rock, folk and even Gypsy-jazz.** To me, Jean Sébastien’s sound is wonderfully eccentric—something like Xiao He and the Moody Blues channeling Django Reinhardt: it’s yearning, fantastical, brainy and fearless. Says Jean-Sébastien, “I think whatever style is played, it should be original and personal. What I try to do is always go further in experimentations. My message is, it's good to mix styles and cultures; it’s a message of understanding.” **In 2010, Jean-Sébastien will record his 5th Zhang Si’an album.** He’ll record another with the Amazing Insurance Salesman and release an album from The Incredible JSB!, all while maintaining his regular performance schedule and weekly Thursday night gigs with the Maix Jazz Band at Enoteca. His next show with the Amazing Insurance Salesmen is Thursday, January 14 at Yugong Yishan. If you haven’t seem him yet, get started. They don’t make them like this just anywhere. #Jean-Sebastien Hery with the Amazing Insurance Salesmen, Thursday, January 14 at [Yugong Yishan](http://www.cityweekend.com.cn/beijing/listings/nightlife/live_music/has/yugong-yishan/). #Zhang Si'an at [Jianghu Jiuba](http://www.cityweekend.com.cn/beijing/listings/nightlife/live_music/has/jiang-hu-jiu-ba/), January 22, 9:00 p.m., 30RMB #Zhang Si'an's blog is [here](http://blog.sina.com.cn/zsian) #Zhang Si'an's video for ["Beijing Days"](http://you.video.sina.com.cn/b/11442450-1355895337.html) #Zhang Si'an's video for ["Ji Dan Chao Fan"](http://www.tudou.com/programs/view/4egD8wl_5HU/). #**All Zhang Si'an's music can be purchased [here](amazon.com)

TAG Beijing

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

beijing lgbt gala 2017 05

By: Robbinsadam -

Behind the Mask: Glimpses of the 2017 Beijing LGBT Center...
Three cheers for the staff and volunteers of the Beijing LGBT Center for organizing another fabulous gala fundraiser! (Full disclosure: We're one of those volunteers.) Behind masks of every shape...
Read More
pachakutiq 4

By: Robbinsadam -

Birthday Bonanza: Pachakutiq Celebrates with New Fare
If there's anything sweeter than a frosty pisco sour on a hot summer's day, it might just be the beaming smile of Pachakutiq co-owner Francisco Chia. When that dimpled smile pushes a "Pacha shot" --...
Read More
taozhu1

By: YanMina -

Fashionista: Tao Zhu and Caesar Live Beyond Black & White
Name: Tao ZhuNationality: ChineseOccupation: Co-founder of Penny’s Food Studio Hair and Makeup: Ashley Stanton of London LoftPhotographer: Tao Zi Tell us a bit about yourself and what you do here...
Read More
IMG 8380 opt

By: Servethepets -

Adopt a Pet: Momma Zoe and Puppies
The puppy power is strong this month with not one or two, but five little pups awaiting a kind and loving family. Their mother Zoe was rescued from the streets about two months ago, massively...
Read More

Comments

Download App Now
Select your device platform and get download started
Add & Promote an Event
Tell everybody what's going on. FREE.

You've reached the limit of allowed deals. For more information

Contact us

You've reached the limit of allowed housing listing. For more information

Contact us