Student - December 7, 2006

Chinese culture is more than old costumes and tea

‘We want to show what young Chinese students like,’ says Yang Song from the band Highway, ‘And they also love punk music.’

Zhi Wen Li (foreground) and Wei Qin perform at the International Club.
The band played Saturday 2 December at the International Club (ICA) in Wageningen, during a cultural evening organised by the Chinese Association of Students and Scholars in Wageningen (CASSW). The band was started in Wageningen six years ago by students from the China Agricultural University (CAU) in Beijing, and went under the name ‘Green’. Some of the members left when they graduated and the two remaining students continued with ‘Highway’. One of them is Wei Qin, who studied International Land and Water Management and now has a job at a trading company. ‘We used to play all kinds of music like metal and pop rock, and played songs by Skid Row, Metallica, as well as by Maroon 5 and James Blunt. But with the arrival of Zhi Wen Li this year we changed to punk and playing covers from Chinese bands.’

The band performs several times a year and practises each Sunday at the ICA. They are all self-taught musicians. Song is studying International Land and Water Management and is a member of the Student Council: ‘I listened to rock music, just tried and learned to play it.’ They mainly play covers, but have five of their own numbers on their set list. ‘We would like to expand that, but it’s difficult to find opportunities to practise more together,’ says Qin.

They have no special ritual before going on stage. Li is nervous: it’s his first performance. They start with some classic punk rock, and combine it with more melodic songs. Even though the lyrics are in Chinese, music once again proves that it has no borders. Highway might try to keep up speed in their show and pause less between the songs, but they were indeed just some young boys playing for their and our enjoyment.

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