Tag Archives: music

hot azns: the cheapmunks

posted by notmyname

Suhana, Mehak and their band: two Pakistani girls singing Destiny’s child to guitars and the tabla, with a Bollywood song thrown in. It’s basically all-around wicked.

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cd review: cho dependent by margaret cho

posted by jroselkim


The first time I listened to Margaret Cho’s stand-up performance, I was taken by the careful and deliberate pace, as well as the meaningful pauses that gave you time to think about the inequalities and the wrongful assumptions we often make in our society. (For a great example of her deliberateness, check out the clip of “Asian Chicken Salad” posted below) Given her style, then, it’s no surprise that her new album Cho Dependent not only focuses on comedy, but also musical craftsmanship itself.

The roster of collaborators includes an impressive number of indie musical darlings: Andrew Bird, Rachel Yagamata and Ani DiFranco as well as veteran Canuck musical heavyweights like Tegan and Sara, Carl Newman (New Pornographers) and Kevin Drew (Broken Social Scene). There’s even a throw-back to the (naughty) past, as Kevin Chong (yes, that Chong of Cheech & Chong fame) makes an appearance in an aptly titled track, “Calling In Stoned”.

I admit, the pure joy and fun of hearing many of the indie stars’ voices in one album took most of my attention away in the first listen of the album. But Cho doesn’t let the guests outshine her. Staying true to her comic sensibility, Cho doessn’t shy away from taboo topics, including funny zingers about reality TV shows delighting in people’s addictions (“It’s not your birthday but all your friend and family are there” – “Intervention”), extreme stalking gone wrong (“I’m sorry I killed you dear / I only wanted you to be near”- “I’m Sorry”), smoking pot, and of course, dicks.

It doesn’t hurt to have an all-star backup, but Cho’s vocal chops can definitely hold their own. She can hit the high notes as well as add texture and strength like a front-lining vocalist should in songs like “Eat Shit and Die”.

Cho Dependent is not only rich in comedic gems but some serious musical talent and what we could call good music – catchy melodies and snappy, witty lyrics. In the press release announcing the new album, Cho describes her inspiration for the album, where she wanted to create and contribute to a genre of music that is “hilarious but also seriously good.”She’s succeeded and some more, I’d say.

She’s also going on tour to promote her new album, with stops in Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal. Let’s go give her some love, invazn!

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azn women as eye candy?

posted by missmsian

How do you feel about Azn male artists who use Azn females as eye candy (or muses or love interests or whatever you call them) in music videos?

On one hand, I love seeing Azn female faces in media. In fact, I’m almost willing to overlook the fact that they’re squeezed into the same stereotypical ‘sex kitten’ roles women of other colours portray in these videos. I mean, there’s no such thing as bad publicity, right?

On the other hand, ~aZn pRyDe~ can only go so far before I start to feel some righteous feminist indignation. How sad that we have to enter the market, so to speak, on terms defined by men’s eyes. And, I would add, generally white eyes.

But even misogyny has sharp distinctions for me. Whereas Western (and white) men’s Azn fetishes are automatically written off as belittling and creepy, I find it a lot harder to get worked up when Jay Sean or the boys of Far East Movement ogle Azn chicks.

In some way, watching Azn guys and gals in music videos flirting and grinding reaffirms Azn men’s sexuality.

… But does it have to be at the expense of Azn women? (Errr … no pun intended.)

In their defence, some of the videos make it look like the Azn woman is making her own choice to hook up with Jay on the dance floor. At least she’s not in cheongsam with her eyes downcast, I guess.

I don’t want to pull a

and say you can only look at it one way or the other.

So how do you deal?

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azns in hip-hop [1]

posted by djtrishna

In the land of hip hop, female MCs are a rare breed. At least that’s what the mainstream would have us believe.

Right now there are countless female artists fighting intense discrimination in the industry while producing some of the best hip hop out there. Many of whom are reppin it for us Azns.

Case in point? Shadia Mansour.

If you’ve never heard of this extremely talented artist before, you are in for a treat. I would describe her as the more intelligent, politically conscious, Palestinian female version of Drake. Just kidding, that would be a complete diss to Shadia because she could totally tear Drake apart in a throw down, just sayin.

Why should we be paying attention to her? Shadia’s flow is intuitive, expertly dropped over well produced beats and vocals that could carry her career on their own. Her lyrics resist the current trend of mainstream hip hop to produce formulaic lines that ignore social and political realities, which she does without getting cheesy. And the first single “El Kofeyye 3arabeyye”, off of her new album features M1 of Dead Prez.

Yes, as in Dead Prez, Dead Prez. If you don’t think this is a testament to her skills and potential as an MC, perhaps you should examine what you think you know about hip hop.

El Kofeyye 3arabeyye is a brilliant track that explores the cultural roots of the Kofeyye and challenges its appropriation.

Her depth and dynamism as an artist can be seen in this track but also through her collaborations and performances with other Arab artists such as Canada’s own The Narcicyst and the UK’s Lowkey in which she holds her own amongst the presence of such strong men.

Shadia is also uncompromising her in image as a Palestinian female performer. She rocks keffiyehs and traditional Palestinian dress onstage, constantly reminding us of her identity. Shadia has been nicknamed the First Lady of Arab Hip-Hop. To me, this is particularly important in an era of hip hop in which artists would rather wear Louis Vutton in an effort to assimilate to whiteness than have their audiences deal with their racial other-ness.

Her album is set to drop sometime before year’s end. You can be sure to expect big things out of Shadia in her reclamation of hip hop.

Check out her myspace here.

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invaded: june

posted by missmsian

The most interesting (to me) media about and by Azns last month.

Hard(ly?) news

Chinatown grocer’s trial delayed: Toronto storeowner David Chen and two others were arrested last summer after trying to make a citizen’s arrest on chronic plant thief Anthony Bennett (yeah, I know … sounds like a bad Mary Higgins Clark novel).  Chen’s trial was pushed from the end of June to Oct. 4 to 6 after defence lawyer Peter Lindsay realized the Crown is racist. Just kidding. I spoke to Lindsay once and he was adamant this case ain’t a racial thang.

Stats Can says hate crimes up in 2008 … and they published the data in June 2010. Maybe their slowness is one big hate crime. I don’t know.

Panda-monium

Michaelle Jean celebrated her last Canada Day as governor general in China instead of Canada. People fussed because they wanted her to be in town for the Queen’s irrelevant visit. I just hope someone in China brought up Humiliation Day on July 1.

Here’s a cute pic of Jean holding a baby panda:

Baby panda > Queen

Azn love fest

The New York Times ran a half-decent piece big-upping YouTube as a “crucial launching pad” for Azn-American artists (translation: mainstream labels won’t sign them). But they called the piece “Unexpected Harmony” (translation: the Times didn’t expect Azns to have musical talent).

The Canadian Press ran another they’re-taking-over story about South Azns but, for once, it wasn’t tinged with fear and loathing. It seems South Azns are starting to show up in mainstream media and moving away from the roles they’re always stereotyped into. I’m thinking Kelly from “The Office.” The article mentions more.

Ballers

Goodbye, Japan. Goodbye, Koreas. Next Cup, boys.

Fun fact: the Asian Football Confederation is headquartered in Malaysia. True story.

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can’t be …

posted by missmsian

Ugh.

The only thing worse than Miley Cyrus’s culturally inappropriate performance of “Can’t Be Tamed” at last night’s MuchMusic Video Awards in Toronto was Justin Bieber’s wannabe-urban getup and gang sign fronting.

This is what happens when you give two white, suburban kids millions of screaming tweens and a recording contract.

Hmm … three, if you count Drizzy Fake.

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move over justin dweeber. it’s an invazn.

posted by missmsian

I had the biggest 14-year-old’s crush on Usher. I stuck with him beyond the “Yeah” years and even watched his awful, Godfather-wannabe In Da Mix–twice. But signing Justin Bieber is unforgivable.

In no particular order, sexy Azn male artists who got started on YouTube, whom Usher could have signed instead.

(I’m gonna save hip-hop–artists like Traphik and Lil Crazed–for another post, aite?)

Let’s start off with AJ Rafael. He recently teamed up with Wong Fu Productions to shoot a music video for his runaway hit “When We Say (Juicebox).” It’s teen-angst pop without being self-indulgent at its finest.

The song shares a similar title with Gabe Bondoc‘s “When You Say (Nine)” but their themes couldn’t be more different. The artists, though both self-identified proud Filipinos, are also quite different. Bondoc describes his style as “acoustic” while Rafael is less committal, saying he draws inspiration from artists ranging from Taylor Swift to Bob Marley to Brooke Fraser.

I was complaining to a friend that the rare times Azn guys are featured in pop culture and media, they’re almost always portrayed as nerds. She introduced me to Passion aka Jeremy Manongdo. He does covers–pop, r&b, Christian and more–and writes his own songs, like “32,” dedicated to his mum, and “My Girl, My Friend, My Lover,” dedicated to me (just kidding. I wish.) All while looking fiiiine.

Passion occasionally teams up with Melvin Gutierrez for covers like “Hard to Say Goodbye“. My favourite cover, and one of my most-played YouTube vids of all time, is their self-dubbed “man version” of Destiny’s Child’s “Cater 2 U.”

Melvin also upstages Bieber with his Baby Candle Light/Bedtime remix of “Baby“.

Jeremy Dev, Joneil Joseph and Matt Lai are new on YouTube, as eighteen19twenty, doing acoustic covers with beatboxing. I’ve been grooving to their “Whatcha Say + Party In The USA + You Found Me” medley of late. I hope these guys upload more soon.

Sadly, I haven’t heard of as many Canadian-based Azn male artists.

I want to put irazn on the list of greats but, unfortunately, he’s been too shy, too humble or too stupid to put his stuff on YouTube. You’ll have to take my word that he’s good and quietly follow his channel in case he ever decides to upload his own stuff. Think less-twangy (and not racist) John Mayer meets Marty Sampson. Hawt too. I can still admit that after almost 11 years of friendship, so that’s saying something.

Where the other Azn-Canadian independent musicians at?

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