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In Wuhan the beat goes on

By Chen Nan | China Daily | Updated: 2020-03-21 09:26
Zhu Ning, 48, is a drummer in a punk rock band called SMZB, and founder of Wuhan's first live-house venue for indie music, Vox.[Photo provided to China Daily]

The first time I went to Wuhan was in 2011. I arrived at lunch time on New Year's Eve and the whole afternoon was devoted to interviewing the Canadian singer-songwriter Avril Lavigne.

She performed during the New Year's Eve gala staged by Jiangsu Satellite TV, which was broadcast live from Wuhan Sports Center. Because I had to catch a flight early the next day I missed out on exploring the city, so it remained barely known to me.

Of course that does not mean I don't have a smattering of knowledge about the city, picked up over the years from books, movies and TV programs: about its location on the banks of the Yangtze River in Hubei province, about its ancient Yellow Crane Tower, spicy duck's neck, hot and dry noodles and the beautiful cherry blossoms that grace the grounds of Wuhan University in March.

Now, because of the novel coronavirus that broke out in January, barely a soul on the planet has not heard of Wuhan. As for me, I have dug up old memories about it and have been keen to know more about this city that has a history stretching back more than 3,000 years.

In doing so I got to thinking about Wuhan in times more joyful than now, and in particular about its indie music scene, which does not quite have the indie pedigree of, say, Beijing or Xi'an, but nevertheless is vibrant and growing.

I talked with some of those in Wuhan indie rock bands and those connected with the city's live house venues whose lives are closely linked with Wuhan and inspired by it.

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