I’ve just listened to a frustrating but interesting documentary on BBC Radio 4 called Chopsticks at Dawn. You can hear it on the BBC’s iPlayer here, until this coming Saturday:
Presented by Anna Chen, the programme looks at inauthentic Chineseness in music, from Debussy to David Bowie. It’s an incomplete look at the subject, and I’m afraid I shouted at the radio on a couple of occasions, but it’s worth listening to if you want to find out the (probable) origins of the ‘ning-a-ning-nong’ melody from Kung Fu Fighting.
East-Asian influences in music – real or fake – are something that we’re very interested in, and we discussed the same subject when we appeared on Lucky Cat on Resonance FM a few months ago.
What’s probably more interesting to us is the flow of influence in the opposite direction – how Western pop norms were incorporated into East-Asian rock n’ roll of the 50s and 60s. I’ll gladly make a documentary about it for Radio 4 – they have only to ask.