YAOGUN 101 - A Taste of Chinese Rock Music @ Toronto Reference Library

February 11, 2012 | Iana

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YAOGUN 搖滾 is the Chinese word for "rock and roll", but it is much more that than, according to Torontonian Jonathan Campbell. He is a drummer, music agent and promoter who has spent the last ten years living in Beijing, China and has recently published a book about it all.

Please join us on Tuesday, February 14, 2pm, at Toronto Reference Library, the Beeton Auditoruim, to hear the insider's story and sounds of Chinese rock music during a multimedia discussion with Canadian author and musician Jonathan Campbell. He will present "Red Rock: The Long Strange March of Chinese Rock and Roll" (his first book published in October 2011) and will share from his own involvement in the local yaogun scene.

Curious about China's musical revolution? Everyone is welcome, no registration required.


Red Rock The Long Strange March of Chinese Rock and Roll by Jonathan Campbell


“Rock and roll – rebellious, individualistic, explosive – seems incongruent with modern Chinese society. But as the music has evolved from a Western import into something uniquely Chinese, it has shaped and been shaped by China’s unique system and its relationship with the outside world. Red Rock looks at the people and events that have created Chinese rock’s unique identity, and tracks the music’s long journey from the Mao years to present. After boiling below the surface for over twenty years and now emerging from a thriving underground scene, Chinese rock may be ready to smash its guitars on the global stage." (Earnshaw Books)



"Yaogun’s story is not just that of the awakening and rise of the world’s newest superpower, but of the power of the music. The future of the nation will determine yaogun’s path, just as it defined its past. But if yaogun lives up to its potential, it just might change the nation --- and rock the world." (J. Campbell)



  Midi Festival Beijing 2010[Midi Festival, Beijing, 2010, by Su Dong via Midi Festival website]


For more information about Red Rock: The Long, Strange March of Chinese Rock & Roll please visit:


Listen to the following two songs suggested by Jonathan Campbell to illustrate yaogun from its early days 25 years ago to the latest bands:


A video for the title track from from Cui Jian's 1989 album "Rock and Roll on the New Long March" - considered the first Chinese rock album. Cui Jian is the first Chinese rocker.



The band Lonely China Day and their instrumental song "Rise Up" from the 2010 album "This Readily Assimilative People". Note the TTC playing a major role in this video that was produced by Stephen Imwalle and made in Toronto.



Do you listen to yaogun?  What other Chinese rock bands do you know?