A vocal stance against lip-synching singers

13:58, October 22, 2009      

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Chinese rocker Cui Jian is an angry man nowadays.

The "Godfather of Chinese Rock" Cui Jian has upped the ante on the nationwide campaign to stop lip-synching during live performances.

On Oct 17, Cui starred with his friends in MTV Zhen Live, which marked another highlight of the movement.

In every episode of the 45-minute program, two popular artists from different music genres will perform live on the same stage.

Influential names like Yu Quan, Wang Feng, Wang Leehom, Zhang Liangying, Xu Wei and Zhang Yadong are already on the roster.

Cui initiated the anti-lip-synching campaign with his friends in 2002, appealing to thousands of fans in a signing ceremony in Beijing. After soliciting public opinion, the Ministry of Culture issued a regulation banning lip-synching during commercial concerts this September.

"You can hardly find real singing programs on Chinese television," Cui says.

He isn't happy about music videos, either. "Music videos are a way of advertising; they aren't real music," he says. "You see people performing, but they're just acting."

There are still voices saying that lip-synching is okay: Some performers need to dance, which affects their voices. So lip-synching helps them give audiences the best visual experience.

Cui disagrees.

"If you do not have enough physical capability to dance and sing at the same time, then don't be a performer. There are many talented people in China. Leave the spot for others."

Cui says that live performing should never feature lip-synching. But in China, high-ticket prices and limited numbers of performance venues mean little public access to live performances.

So most audiences must turn to TV.

But television has yet to make real singing a standard practice.

Mei Yan, managing director of MTV Networks China and chief representative of Viacom Asia in China, says her foreign friends often complain that "everything is fake in China", including singing.

Mei says she is trying to change this impression by joining the fight against lip-synching.

When she approached Cui with the idea of launching a program where singers actually sing, Cui couldn't have agreed more.

"Real things are powerful, and there is true quality in rock 'n' roll," Cui says.

Cui admits that he began his music career by imitating Western elements.

"We had our own feelings that couldn't be expressed, so we started to make our own music," he says.

Cui believes music can deliver a great deal of information - especially rock 'n' roll.

"It can be serious and significant; it's modern and fashionable," he says.

"You can feel freedom, sexiness and other things. The most important part is you can find yourself in it.

"Rock 'n' roll gives me confidence. That's real."

Cui established his prominence with the signature song I Have Nothing (Yiwu Suoyou) in 1986. But he no longer has personal feelings about the song.

"So many other people have put their own feelings into it," he says.

He likes his latest song Blue Bones (Lansede Gutou), in which he imagines himself as an eager young student.

Source: China Daily
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