Where: Zhijiang Dream Factory, B4/F, 28 Yuyao Lu, near Xikang Lu
When: Friday at 9PM
This Friday, March 5th the Lions of Puxi will be playing at Zhijiang Dream Factory with several other groups for the “Dance for Haiti” fundraiser/charity event.
Lions of Puxi is a seven-piece ‘project’ that formed in 2008 in Shanghai. Composed of diverse musical backgrounds such as gypsy jazz and Mauritian seggae, the Lions’ sound combines head-nodding melodies with foot-tapping rhythms and dynamic lyrics that flow from soul to hip-hop to pop. Performed in the the three languages spoken by the Lions (English, French & Mandarin) and named for the neighborhood in Shanghai where the handsome pride met, the Lions’ music carries a message of change, love and truth.
In that vein, one hundred per cent of door proceeds at their upcoming concert will be donated to One Foundation/Red Cross, which has established a Haiti disaster relief fund. In addition to this there will also be a raffle with all earnings going to Habitat for Humanity. Amongst other unconfirmed items, you can bid on a stay at the Ritz Carlton Hotel and a crate of Russian vodka!
Just yesterday, Shanghaiist had the opportunity to sit down with Lions’ frontmen Gauthier Roubichou and Gilbert Kuppusami for a chat about Mauritius, musical prostitution and the World Cup.
Gilbert, you’re from Mauritius (a little island in the Indian Ocean, east of Madagascar) – how did you end up in Shanghai in a seggae-gypsy jazz band?
Gilbert: By plane (laughs). But really, in 2001, I flew over to Shanghai after playing with different bands in Mauritius for a while. We had Filipino, American, Mauritian groups, people from all over. But Mauritius is small, Shanghai gives me more of an opportunity to make a living by using music.
Gauthier: He was a musical prostitute for a while.
What was it like growing up in Mauritius? How’s the local music scene there?
Gilbert: The local music scene is happening! You know, it’s got that small island culture and feel to it. There’s lots of well known musicians doing their thing, but they can’t make a living there, it’s too small a market. That’s one of the reasons I left for Shanghai.
You guys have said before that Bob Marley has inspired some of your music, and this is probably true about a lot of reggae influenced music – what do you admire most about him? Do you have a favorite song of his?
Gilbert: He had guts man. Like every musician, every inventor, this guy was out there. And he was just natural. If I had only one song of his I could listen to, it’d have to be “Satisfy My Soul”.
Gauthier: He didn’t care, he’d go out and smoke weed and play football with his friends every day. He was a visionary too, always living 101%. I actually learned some of my English listening to his music. And “Pimper’s Paradise” is the best Bob Marley song.
You can sit down and have dinner with one historical person (dead or alive) – who’s it going to be?
Gilbert: Gotta be Nelson Mandela man.
Gauthier: Anthony Kiedis for me, the lead singer for the Chili Peppers.
This weekend, you guys are playing in a Haiti charity event – does it mean anything more to you because of the French island influence that Mauritius shares with Haiti?
Gilbert: Absolutely. They speak a creole language like we do on Mauritius. It’s that island cultural that we share. Also, they’re born near the sea like our people. I feel almost like they’re our distant cousins. And our music is a world music – Haiti is part of that.
As you guys have been in Shanghai for a while, what’s your favorite restaurant and favorite bar?
Gilbert: JZ Club has gotta be the best bar, but I play there Wednesday nights (laughs). For food, Thai House. They put those other Thai places to shame.
Gauthier: Yeah, JZ Club for me too, but for restaurants, the Japanese place Haikou.
I asked this question to DJ Andy Smith (interview to be published later this week), who’s also playing this Friday. World Cup 2010 is coming up. Who’s gonna be in the finals?
Gilbert: I wanna see Holland versus one of the African teams, maybe Cameron. They’re nickname is “lions indomptable” in French, which means the indomitable, or untameable lions. That reminds of me of our group. On a side note, Mauritius is helping support some teams in their training. We have some good quality fields for teams to practice on before the Cup, and it’s a short flight to South Africa.
Gauthier: But also, I think it would be good to see South Africa in there because of the importance this event has for them. If you’ve seen the movie “Invictus”, you know how important sport is to their people. It represents hope, and that’s something the South African people need and long for.
Who’s going to have more people at their show, you guys at the Haiti event or DJ Andy Smith?
Gauthier: I don’t think this event is about who has more people show up, or the money or the fame. We can come play again, the DJ can come back again, but this catastrophe in Haiti happened just once. That’s what’s important – coming out to support Haiti and its’ people.
Gilbert: It’s also going to depend on the taste of the people and I think the Dance for Haiti night has a lot to offer – different bands, different genres so you can expect to see not just one type of person. Punks, rockers, hip hoppers, reggae types, young and old, Mothers bring their daughters, fathers bring their sons.
Rumour has it you may be able to catch the Lions of Puxi together with French sensation Olivia Ruiz, May 7th at MAO Livehouse