Christine Owman and Kou Chou Ching at Nocturne, Toronto – Gig review and photos (Indie Week 2011)

October 20, 2011
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Christine Owman at Nocturne, Toronto, 23 October 2011 - photo Renee Saviour, Music ViceChristine Owman plays the saw during her showcase at Nocturne

The Gig: Indie Week 2011
Where: Nocturne, Toronto, ON, Canada
When: 13 October 2011
In One Word: Sincere

The best thing about festivals is that they give you the chance to check out things and people you might not normally get the opportunity to see, particularly from other countries. This is why I decided to see Sweden’s Christine Owman and Taiwan’s Kou Chou Ching at the Thursday Indie Week showcase at Nocturne.

I have to admit, when I first saw Christine Owman set up, I thought to myself ‘oh man, not another precious, pretentious experimental artist’. But I soon found myself sucked into her performance.  Her eclectic mix of the 80’s inspired outfit (headband, lace cut-off gloves and stockings etc.), multimedia (provocative, retro video footage) and unconventional instruments (singing saw, ukulele, and a twirly hose thing), all seemed to work. Her influences come from different eras and are fused with present technology and a voice that ranges from haunting ghost to a hint o’ wailing banshee. She put her whole self into the set and it enthralled enough to win her the night’s showcase.

While Owman certainly deserved the win, my personal favourite of the night was hip hop band,   Kou Chou Ching.  I didn’t understand a thing they were rhyming, but it didn’t matter.  They had great energy and the way they combined hip hop with elements of traditional Taiwanese music was inspired.  I love the fact that rather than trying to be Western, this band embraces their culture.  Several titles include references to Taiwan and they often rap about a variety of Taiwanese social concerns. Their Taiwanese identity also seems to be a running theme in their music and halfway through their set, they clarified to mistaken audience members that they were not Chinese. Kou Chou Ching are proud of where they are from and they want people to know it.

Both Christine Owman and Kou Chou Ching proved that they are the real deal: hardworking, creative, intense and sincere. The one shame is that not many people came out to experience either performance; glad I was one of the lucky few who did.

© Renee Saviour, Music Vice

Photos of Christine Owman and Kou Chou Ching:

Internet links:
Christine Owman

Kou Chou Ching

Renee Saviour

activist, teacher, book lover, music zealot

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