Bazaar Café to Host All-Acoustic Musical Showcase Featured in 17th Annual United States of Asian America Festival, “The Spaces Between”
All-Acoustic Musical Showcase, featuring Chinese Melodrama & Friends
Saturday May 10 2014
5927 California Street, between 21st & 22nd Avenues, San Francisco, CA 94118
7pm to 10pm
Admission is free; donations to the artists and support of the Bazaar Café are encouraged.
CDs will be available for sale. Sponsored by Asian Pacific Islander Cultural Center.
The Richmond District’s Bazaar Café will be the backdrop for an All-Acoustic MusicalShowcase, “Chinese Melodrama & Friends”, featuring original music created and performed by Half Moon Bay-based acoustic rock duo Chinese Melodrama, comprised of violinist Lisa Chu and guitarist/vocalist Randy Bales. San Francisco-based musical groups 11th Ave Records and Manjali Light will each perform a set in the showcase, which is sponsored by Asian Pacific Islander Cultural Center as part of the 17th United States of Asian America Festival, with the theme of “The Spaces Between”.
Bazaar Café, located in the Richmond District, is an ideal listening space with the intimate feel of a living room and the funkiness of a San Francisco neighborhood hangout. The combination of performers in this showcase is itself an expression of the “spaces between” cultures. It is a celebration of the diversity of Asian American human experiences and their intersections with the broad range of cultural influences represented in America. The performers represented in these musical groups include East Coast, Mid-West, and California born Asian Americans, as well as an Asian-born immigrant.
Each of the groups will present a program of all-original music performed on acoustic instruments (guitar, violin, piano, ukulele) and voice. Admission is free. Donations to the artists and support of the Bazaar Cafe are encouraged.
Contact Lisa Chu at [email protected]
for interviews and appearances.
About the Festival:
In May of each year, Asian Pacific Islander Cultural Center (APICC)’s United States of Asian America Festival, now in its seventeenth year, presents approximately thirty different programs reflecting the artistic accomplishments and the cultural diversity of San Francisco’s Asian and Pacific Islander communities. The Festival presents artists and organizations representing a diverse range of ethnic and cultural groups, as well as artistic disciplines including theater, music, dance, film, literature and visual arts. APICC’s sixteen previous United States of Asian American Festivals have presented more than 1,300 Asian American artists and organizations. Past festivals have included visual arts exhibitions co-sponsored by the Chinese Historical Society, Kearney Street Workshop, SF Arts Commission Gallery and others.
Link to Festival information:
Links to artist websites:
Chinese Melodrama http://chinesemelodrama.com
11th Ave Records http://www.youtube.com/11thaverecords
Manjali Light http://www.youtube.com/ManjaliLight
Artist Statement – Chinese Melodrama:
Lisa Chu, violin (Half Moon Bay) and Randy Bales, guitar/vocals (Half Moon Bay) Chinese Melodrama was born from the convergence of different worlds. On every level, our music is a blending of influences, an intersection of cultural identities, and a celebration of both who we are becoming and where we have come from. Lisa met Randy when she attended a musicians’ jam, finally mustering up the courage to try improvising with her violin after more than thirty years of classical training, performance,
competition, and running her own violin school for children. It was the first time she had ever played with drums, bass, guitar, or any instruments with amplification.
While a seemingly unlikely combination of the elite and refined classical violin sound with the edginess of rock-and-roll, it was the exploration of “sound as sound” – breaking down the barriers created by labels, categories, and judgments – that served as the driver of the birth of Chinese Melodrama. The name of the group arose from an incidental conversation on Facebook, where Lisa jokingly referred to their impassioned, orchestral
interpretations of Metallica songs as “sounding like Chinese soap opera music” – the soundtracks of the videos her mom would watch into the wee hours of the night. It then became the name of their brand new band – a collaboration born in that very moment. Since the beginning, the sound of Chinese Melodrama has arisen from the combination of Randy’s strong rock-and-roll roots, intricate guitar work, and passionate vocals, with Lisa’s soaring violin melodies, created in the moment, with the intention of harnessing fresh aliveness in every single performance. To this day, whether it is a re-interpretation of cult classics by Led Zeppelin, Pearl Jam, Cat Stevens, or Metallica, or one of the original songs with lyrics written by Randy, Chinese Melodrama is a celebration of both diversity and unity, and an expression of what is possible when we see the gap created by others’ expectations, and choose to step boldly into that space.
As a subtext, the image of an Asian American woman doctor playing original rock music in a café is itself an act of rebellion against the well-traveled path, a deliberate navigation of the “space between” well-defined identities. Lisa’s story started as a familiar Asian American narrative, having been steered toward an academic and professional path of
status and perceived security to Harvard, then graduation from medical school, followed by partner track in a venture capital firm, and successful solo entrepreneurship. Her exploration as an independent artist through Chinese Melodrama represents the path of greatest fear from the stories of her childhood – it is the thing she was told explicitly not to do, because it was too risky, sure to end in poverty, isolation, homelessness. These dramatizations, inculcated through family storytelling, have played strongly in her mind throughout the creative process, and represent the internal obstacles that are overcome each and every time a step toward the unknown is taken. On this level, the name Chinese Melodrama is also a constant reminder of every challenge along the path of finding an authentic creative expression and bringing it into the world.
Special Guest Artists
11th Ave Records: Wesley Woo, singer/songwriter (San Francisco), Tommy P., singer/songwriter (San Francisco), MJ Lee (San Francisco)
11th Ave Records is a San Francisco-based music collective and independent pop/folk/rock record label. Its founding members are local Asian-American singer/songwriters and musicians who are working collaboratively to promote, produce, and perform each
Manjali Light: Hyejin Yu, singer/songwriter (San Francisco)
Manjali Light is celebrating that universal love, beauty and understanding. While traveling in India last year, I was given a name, Manjali, which means "whatever your heart desires, you can do." Manjali Light serves to be a beacon of light to open hearts, to break cultural and ethnic boundaries, to find our universality through music, and to see love within ourselves through each other.