Editor’s note: This article by Kristen Ng was originally posted on her site, Kiwese, and has been excerpted here with permission. Read the whole thing here.
When the only seemingly logical escape from your anxiety is to take a train 1000km in the opposite direction, you know it’s dark. That’s what I did to escape the heart-breaking reality of commercial ethnic tourism in Guizhou and the (to quote a bleak sent email) “annoying as fuck Chinese tourists.” After a twenty-three hour train ride, I arrived in Kunming in a daze. By some serendipitous twist of fate, I stumbled into a South Acid MiMi Dance Team show.
A colourful crowd had gathered for this Friday night double bill. The air was thick with cigarettes and sickly sweet cheap mixers. Having been alienated to despair by domestic backpackers, I was finally at ease with the oddballs. The stage darkened and the band’s name flashed on screen, the word MIMI cupped within a geometric pair of boobs. Three mysteriously masked girls materialised with microphones and a near empty bottle of Jack Daniels, launching a cluster of MIDI keyboards into a set of strange and wonderful dance tunes.
“Nu ma du gu sa ji ba, za po ma ge za ma mi…” (x3)
Unapologetic and self-assured, they gave us guttural screams of defiance and emotive group harmonies, cute coordinated choreography and riotously drunk melodica solos — they were the antithesis of mainstream Chinese society and I loved them from the first minute I saw them…
Read the rest of Kristen’s (excellent) post to learn more about South Acid Mimi’s distinctly hinterland Kunming vibes, and the story behind this song/video — “a tipsy adoration of nature, humans, rock and roll and electronica” — right here. And check back on RADII later in the week for an exclusive interview with South Acid Mimi Dance Team, who are preparing to release their debut album within the next two months.
B-Side China Podcast: Chengdu Underground with Kristen Ng
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