The Confucius Institute was lucky enough to be visited by Professor Teng Jimeng from Beijing Foreign Studies University to present this years Oz-Asia Public Lecture, with many braving Adelaide’s unseasonably poor weather to join us at the Festival centre for a fascinating discussion Chinese rock’n’roll music.
Professor Teng, a regular on Chinese Central Television’s Dialogue, China 24 and World Insights, is both a well regarded scholar on Chinese popular culture and American Studies, but also a accomplished translator and a full time Associate-Professor at Beijing Foreign Studies University.
With the background of a long-term research project on the transition and transformation from socio-political radicalism in 1960s America to the neo-conservatism of the 1980s, as well as his book on 1960s American rock music “Music-Made America: Popular Music since 1960’s” (1995), Professor Teng was able to contrast and compare the co-evolving rock music and culture in China to that of the United States(and greater Western World).
Exploring the rebellious nature of American rock music Teng illustrated parallels in China, but also contrasts. In particular he spoke at length on the Chinese band ‘Tang Dynasty‘ that found enormous successes inside and out of China in the 1990’s with their brand of “Chinese” Heavy Metal. The band notably incorporated poetry from the Tang dynasty into their lyrics bringing together two disparate cultural influences.
Professor Teng also spoke of a flourishing music festival scene in China and the influence of the Beijing Midi School of Music, a school whose curriculum focuses on such modern musical genres such as rock, jazz, blues, pop, Latin, country and funk, something that runs counter to the typical western narrative of a conservative ‘Communist’ China.
This public lecture, an annual event held as part of the Oz Asia Festival, is also a part of the Confucius Institute’s China Briefing Series. This series of free talks and forums provides up to date knowledge of the most recent developments in China’s political, economic and cultural spheres that are of the most concern to the Australian public. The next briefing is scheduled for late November with details likely to be announced soon – to stay up to date with the latest details of our events please join our mailing list here