Below the Kau To Shan

Below the Kau To Shan 九肚山下


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I. 目星
II.  頻增
III. Kill Bill
IV. 戒 | 食


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Music: Dennis Wu
Text: Skylie Wu
Lyrics: Skylie Wu, Andy So, Dennis Wu

I. Morning Struggle
II. Add Value
III. Kill Bill
IV. Gluttony; Caution


Instrumentation: Mixed-voice chorus (SATB), piano
Year of composition: 2006–8
Duration: 16’30” (5′, 3′, 4’30”, 4′)


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If we value Below the Lion Rock a song of praise to Hong Kong people’s strive for success during the economic boom in a cloudy political aura of the 1970s and 80s, Below the Kau To Shan is a parody that annotates the pressure faced by the 70’s and 80’s generation in the 21st century.

Nothing profoundly philosophical, these songs are ironic displays of daily lives. Morning Struggle is an alarm call for those who sleep late and find themselves trapped on the bed in early morning, escalating to question the meaning of life (or, perhaps, labour). Add Value is playing around the Octopus card (the “dude”) and the socially obsessive demand of “value add.” When the Octopus era dawns, we no longer “store value” but “add value,” and now Octopus is even threatened by payWave (2012 note: payWave no more, we’ll see mobile phone’s NFC). The pseudo-love song Kill Bill is about a university student finding himself in deep thoughts on his endless debt. When will he sweep away all of them? Gluttony; Caution is a vivid quodlibet of obsessions on the aesthetic that equates slim to beauty. Diet is all about calories and slimness, not about health and pleasure.

The storyboard of these songs were created by Skylie Wu, with the words by Skylie Wu (Morning Struggle), Andy So (Add Value and Kill Bill) and Dennis Wu (Gluttony; Caution). These colloquially Cantonese songs are embedded with a local youthful cry with the lyrics borrowed, diversely, from cantopop and advertising catchphrases. The music also quotes from Johannes Brahms, Gustav Mahler and Leslie Cheung. As an experiment of the musical genre, this “choral theatre” contains dialogues rather than plot and tries to work out a realistic, or surrealistic, face of the youth of our time. Morning Struggle was premiered in 2006 by HKFYG Hong Kong Melody Makers and the complete suite was premiered in 2008 by The Chinese University of Hong Kong Chorus.



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沒有甚麼深刻的精神面貌,沒有甚麼警世的微言大言,一切只是回歸基本,從最微小生活面出發:〈目星〉是一闕為「夜晚唔願目訓、日頭唔願起身」之士所寫的起床號,到底每朝的苦戰是為世所逼還是咎猶自取?〈頻增〉以物喻人,直指香港人的八達通化,儲值之不能成就增值之必要,奈何payWave出現暗示連八達通也能有被淘汰一日,你我只好永遠向前,永不停步,最後各安天命。面對帳單唱出幽幽的〈Kill Bill〉,慨嘆當大學生涯原是債──grant loan何時可以一掃光?〈戒 | 食〉(從右讀「食戒」)直指今天「肥/美」分家的審美觀,教男男女女連人間美食也得放下:健康、享受放兩旁,唯有「瘦」字放中間。

樂曲文本意念由胡皚妍創作,歌詞由胡皚妍(目星)、蘇梓安(頻增、Kill Bill)及作曲者胡銘堯(戒 | 食)分工而成,放棄華麗詞藻,以最地道的港式粵語發出最具本土性的青年吶喊。歌詞意像對流行文化的肆意挪用,旋律對位對古今中外各式經典的旁徵博引,以惡搞精神,拼貼出一套廿一世紀青年群像。



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[toggle title=”媒體報導 Media coverage”]
《經濟日報》,2008 年 3 月 26 日

文化速遞﹕九肚山下 聲遍全球
《明報》,2008 年 3 月 28 日


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首演 2006年7月10日,香港文化中心音樂廳

首演 2008年4月5日,香港大會堂音樂廳

演出 2006年12月29日,台北世新大學

演出 2009年1月17日,北區大會堂

演出 2012年10月1日,香港大專會堂
雅謌合唱團 及 香港科技大學學生會合唱團。指揮:蔣慧民




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