By Hans Ebert

It takes a lot to laugh, and a train to cry, and, sometimes, it takes someone or everyone to plant a seed for inspiration to grow. These days, inspiration is in short supply around the world where brother no longer trusts brother, and the world’s power brokers are trying to convert this choreographed hatred into even more divisiveness. But that’s another subject for another day…

In Hong Kong, a small city currently engulfed in rookie politics, where nobody’s right when everybody’s wrong, there’s a fledgling music scene trying to find its feet and get off the ground.

It’s been fledgling for around four decades, because of those who once controlled the local music industry. They saw the money to be made from what this writer coined Canto Pop when writing for the trade publication known as Billboard. This was when singer/songwriter Sam Hui, below, fused his vast knowledge of Western pop music from the British Beat Boom era, and the various chord progressions of the hits from this time with colloquial Cantonese lyrics that spoke to local Chinese through a genre of music they had never heard before. It was tremendously commercial music that’s stood the test of time.

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By Hans Ebert

Again, you need to go back to where you came from to gather your bearings and remember what you either might have forgotten or never appreciated at the time.

Listening to the back catalogue of Mr Chuck Berry, I only now truly understand what a “backbeat and you can’t lose it” really means. Mr Berry might have sounded like playing simple three bar blues or boogie woogie at the time. But his guitar playing always had that backbeat- a non-stop rhythm guitar going on which effortlessly blended in with his leads and gave his vocals probably some of the beginnings of what was slowed down and became funk or soul or whatever black music was labeled.

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By Hans Ebert

Last week, my favourite ‘live’ band in Hong Kong ran through an extremely funk-driven version of the Sam and Dave hit “Hold On I’m Coming”.

The saying that “It’s all about the song” really rang true. The song pushed everyone in band, especially the two singers. Play great songs, and their power goes through you. What was surprising was to discover that one of the singers had never heard of Sam and Dave or any of their other recordings. I sent him a video of the duo performing “Soul Man”, and quite rightly, he was blown away.

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By Hans Ebert

Much has been said about the power of music, but one has to wonder if this is truly understood or celebrated, and just how much healing power it has.

Some of us have tried climbing those 12 Steps, but, for whatever reason, too often, that Higher Power is either not at home or else he or she might have passed you by without realising it.

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By Hans Ebert

(Courtesy of Fast Track)

Some of us learned to play cricket in our backyards. Some of us had to make do with a plank of wood for a bat and bowled with a ball made of socks or a coconut husk before ever holding a real cricket ball. And how good did gripping that cricket ball for the first time feel?

There was then the idol worship of watching local cricket heroes play. Those batsmen were knights in shiny whites with their gloves and pads standing up to warriors running down the pitch and hurling missiles their way. The knights would duck away from these bouncers, keep the googlies out and seize every opportunity to drive, cut, late cut and simply wallop that ball over the fence for six.

And then, there you were, suddenly at the centre of a real cricket pitch- bowling, batting, fielding and understanding how the game all came together. Some of us had mentors who fine-tuned whatever strengths we had and introduced us to cricketing legends like Everton Weekes, Clyde Walcott, Frank Worrell- all those wonderful cricketers from the Caribbean who played their own version of the game.

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By Hans Ebert

Here that? Listen carefully. That’s the sound of silence. Hello, darkness, my old friend, indeed. And, of course, there’s been a darkness ever since The Orange Buffoon and his crooks and cronies lumbered into the White House spewing forth his own brand of fake news, vitriol and racism and just about everything we have not come to expect from any previous leader of The United States Of America.

Joe McCarthy was never President, but what we have been seeing is far more fearful than McCarthyism, especially when you throw Chief Advisor and the puppet master Steve Bannon into the mix.

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By Hans Ebert

No one said it would be easy. But no one also warned that it would be so damn tough to make it in music. Of course, it wasn’t always like this. But there’s always hope. It’s about finding it that’s what is inspiring and keeps one from falling off the edge or steps or trees.

Back in the day, it was as easy as learning to play the guitar or drums, forming a band and getting a recording deal at a time when music companies really were music companies and in the business of supporting their acts and marketing and selling music.

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By Hans Ebert

The stories from former and current staff at many of the offices about the politics and mismanagement of one of the major music companies in the region is not only a pity, it’s a bloody disgrace, especially having worked for the company when it was the leading music company in the region when PolyGram and Goliath, and then when taken over by Edgar Bronfman Jr’s music company and being reduced to David.

It’s still probably the “biggest music company in the world”, but what does this even mean anymore? Size matters? Why? It’s as pointless as saying that MTV is still a music channel. Nothing is what it is anymore, and here’s another music company that was a con in the Asia Pacific region when there actually was a music industry by all manner of corruption, shenanigans and creative accounting by those in the good books of those at Head Office, who were way too trusting of those in charge of the region, especially the Greater China region, and believing that Mainland China was “potentially the biggest music market in the world”. Please.

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THE BEATLES: THANK YOU, LADS

Posted: February 14, 2017 by We-Enhance in Beatles, Music, Music Industry

By Hans Ebert

Their music has been the soundtrack to many of our lives. We grew up with them. Their songs made us smile, sad, think, forgive, forget, fall in love, fall out of love, stay in love.

They gave us answers when there were none. They inspired us when we needed to be picked up when having been put down. Because of them, some of us picked up guitars and tried to write songs and be musicians. At least we tried.

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LIFE THROUGH THE MUSICAL LOOKING GLASS

Posted: February 7, 2017 by We-Enhance in Beatles, Music
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By Hans Ebert

We talk too much. We don’t listen enough. Our priorities are often upside down and back to front. We sleep so much, we lose touch with reality. We have minds, but rarely think. We’re happy to be led. We’re nowhere and everywhere. But think we’re somewhere. Or getting somewhere by doing nothing.

We lose ourselves in this place called social media. Here, we also often lose that human connection. We rarely talk. But we say we’re constantly exchanging and inter-acting and communicating. We’re each different, but we’re all starting to sound the same. We’re lost and confused and want the world to stop because we want to get off.

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