“Seeing” the Music
Voice out! We are looking for visual creations with music and mission.
Visual art, when paired with music, only enhances the story and themes of the songs. This project is an opportunity for audiences to engage with and learn more about Asian cultures. As JMFA is centered around Chinese-language music, we are looking for artworks that incorporate Chinese characters. Use art as a vehicle to translate the stories of Chinese-language songs for audiences of all backgrounds!
The songs in our playlists are chosen based on important universal themes; this year, we are focusing on Gender Equality + LGBTQ Rights, and Anti-Bullying.
Those who identify as women, queer, or part of a marginalized/minority often experience intersectional and systemic discrimination, shaping the way they navigate the world. Even within these communities, identity is a hot topic of contention and exploration, with no one-size-fits-all answer. The fight for equal rights and acceptance is ongoing and worthy of celebration.
Bullying often occurs because the antagonizers are unwilling to accept others that might be different from what they consider “the norm.” The anti-Asian hate movement ties into the anti-bullying theme; many immigrants and their children, for fear of being harrassed, either choose to give up their original ethnic name or language, which also results in the loss of many talents in Canada because they believe they cannot be included here.
In addition to supporting underrepresented IBPOC artists and communities as a whole, Jade Music Fest also supports human rights and social justice. The visual arts component of the project is in cooperation with other non-profit organizations with initiatives that reflect these themes.
For 2023, Seeing the Music project will encompass ten posters inspired by the songs on these playlists. These visual designs will go up on our event sites and/or participating partners, such as nearby cafes and restaurants, to help promote JMFA and turn up the interest in Chinese-language music in Vancouver. We will offer $300 per piece to artists whose work is chosen for the project.
我是誰(Who am I?)／美麗(Beautiful)／
A song that quickly became an anthem of the youth in the Chinese-language world, a comfort to young and fragile hearts. To this day, people still leave Youtube comments thanking Xiao Bing Chih for supporting them through the bitterness of adolescence with this song. The repeated question of Who am I? reminds us not to let other people’s words win; ultimately, it’s up to ourselves to decide who we are.
The victim is an elegant deer, would you hold the deer tightly and share the fear?
The bully is a jealous grey wolf, are they afraid of falling into darkness?
For Mayao, being bullied was a formative part of his life. While the pain might eventually be forgotten with the ease of time, he continues to believe in himself as someone who is brave and unique. “Antler Boy” is a song that provides strength to all who need it, including the singer himself—no one is truly alone. Believe in yourself, root for yourself, using creativity to keep the lonely deer company.
Are all the world’s malice and kindness created by humans?!
Just like a farce
All the world’s problems can also be solved by humans
Don’t be afraid.
Rap music is a kind of release. This song carries the courage of the singer that she is sharing with everyone. The lyrics ponder what she can give to every corner of the world that needs her. Is one song enough? Whether or not this song is your drug, it can still hold you tight, hold you up until you become the you that you are most proud of!
兇手(Murderer)／不只一個(Not the only one)／加害者(Perpetrator)／
People have said that this song “made them feel afraid of the society they live in.”
This song plays out like a script: it opens with the scene of a youth jumping off a building. Parents, the media, the school, classmates, passersby and even anonymous online commentators enter the stage as the song progresses. The one that committed suicide has become the main character in the film called “Society,” while the survived are the murder weapons, from the bullies to the bystanders. This is how people treat each other!
肥仔(Fatso)／如何能逃(How to escape)／追迫(Chase)／我是濤(I’m the wave / I’m To (his name shares the same character))
Keung To is a member of Hong Kong’s boyband Mirror. This song maps his mental journey facing online criticism after becoming famous. Civilization is progressing every day, yet why do our children continuously experience bullying? Creation is power. After experiencing these negative emotions, he realizes he needs to face the fact that he was bullied, to truly understand himself and accept himself. Only then can he calmly face the words of other people.
被封住(Locked out)／迷霧中迷路(Lost in the fog)／關卡(Checkpoint)／陪(Accompany)
What does suicide feel like? What does it take to slice? to cut? to jump? to toss back the cup?
The upbeat rap sketches out the flaws of suicide methods, conveying a more important message: in the process of considering suicide, one realizes that the true goal is really: I just want to know how to skip this painful checkpoint? If someone was there for them, then perhaps the contemplation of suicide would not have felt so hopeless. We all need to hear these voices. The songwriter encourages us all to put ourselves in their shoes, to try and emphasize a little more.
“Xiaojuan” is used in Chinese media as a pseudonym for female victims of gender-based violence. Countless “Xiaojuans” suffer domestic abuse, countless “Xiaojuans” lose their lives every day. This blood-stained name brings their pain and suffering to the forefront of society, yet this tragedy continues to repeat. There’s no “Me too” but “Missing too”.
查某囝(Girls)／堅強(Tough)／各有各的夢(Each girl has her own dream)／
This is a love song written for all women. The songwriter believes that every woman, no matter if they choose to disregard gender stereotypes, or if they choose to put their dreams on hold and conform to traditional gender roles, both choices require extreme courage and are not without struggle.
Every choice can become a blessing in life. Listen to yourself—Women of this new era / Fly and Fight.
女人要像個女人(Women should act like women.)／我們(We)
Gentlewoman blurs the lines of traditional gender roles in relationships and marriage. Perhaps our society is still a ways from true equality, and perhaps challenging expectations is not without conflict. But as more voices sing out for equal rights, a future where all of us can benefit is becoming clear. Gods, goddesses, in the end are all worthy of prayer!
隱形暴力(Invisible violence)／基因(gene)／遙控(Remote control)／花(Flower)
Is this the control of our genes
or the temptation of control?
The self that refuses to surrender
Turn off the control of these genes
Break the temptation of control
The self rooted within the soul
Even waves rely on the wild wind
Written by one of Chinese-language music world’s great singer-songwriters, Wu Qingfeng uses a female perspective to fill in the lyrics to Jun Kung’s melody, with Ashin of Mayday arranging and providing backup vocals. But as men, they symbolize the patriarchy that persists in our society. This song comes after Sandy Lam’s participation in Project Wao, a 2014 charity concert in support of abused women and young girls.
Lam says, “In our current society, how to maintain a firm viewpoint is important to me.”
紅帽(Red Riding Hood)／狼(Wolf)／手起刀落(When the hand is lifted, the knife falls. The idiom describes a clean and neat action when using a knife.)／笑吧(Just laugh)
This album by Hong Kong singer-songwriter Serrini is about the subjectivity of women. Using classic female characters and reversing or emphasizing their stories, these songs encourage fellow women to dream, think, and do fearlessly, even if everyone thinks they are crazy. Lil’ Red is based on the tale of the Little Red Riding Hood. Here, it is a revenge story, portraying female rage the way society often refuses to acknowledge: Men, you should be afraid.
我就是我(I am who i am)／煙火(Fireworks)／光明(Bright)／顏色不一樣的煙火(Fireworks in a different colour)
Leslie Cheung was one of Asia’s biggest stars in the 80s and a major influence in Cantopop during that time. This song is not only his most known work, but also a declaration of his bisexual identity to the world. The lyrics I am who I am / I’ll always love myself as I am captures the core of the song. He hoped his fans would understand that love comes in many forms, and everyone has the right to decide what love means for them. What we define as love is our truest self, reflected in all the colours of the rainbow. No matter what, we are all glorious in the eyes of the Creator!
露絲瑪莉(Rose & Mary)／動人(Moving)／
吻就吻(Just kiss whenever you want)／
This song is about lesbians in love despite the stares of society. The lyrics describe the feelings that one cannot control, that falling in love with the same sex is something natural, too. For she is attractive like so / how can I not fall for her at first sight? Not long after, Denise Ho released a companion song, “Goodbye… Rosemary,” which tells the story of a lesbian couple who were forced to separate because of societal pressures.
嗜愛(Love addiction)／示愛(Show love)／是愛(Is love)／結痂(Scab)
Because of love, people embrace, people weep, rejoice and envy.
Growing up in an East Asian culture, where love is something not spoken, love can be something hard to show and hard to accept. This song reminds us to not be afraid of being scarred by love, to believe in love, to grow within love. There is no shortcut on this journey—only love. A new generation of music artists reflecting on love and creating love.
不一樣又怎樣(Different, so what?)／誰說了算(Who gets to decide)／一生一世(Forever)／美滿(Felicity)
The song that helped to spur the Taiwanese government’s historical ruling in the May of 2017: legalizing same-sex marriage. We’re different, so what? We’re all different, yet the same. Is love defined by law or by emotion? Can love be fulfilled instead of lost? Jolin Tsai, the queen of Chinese-language pop, uses music to share the perspective of same-sex couples, allowing their stories and struggles to be seen and understood.
For Early Announcements And More