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Singapore's famous diva launches cookbook, Kim Ki-duk wins at Berlin, legendary Korean band members reunite on KBS and more in this issue of News From Abroad.
Diva on the stage becomes Diva in the kitchen
Singaporean veteran performer Anita Sarawak has just launched her own cookbook, “Anita Sarawak Cooking with Love,?which will be hitting the bookstores in upcoming months. Taking her audiences on a culinary journey, the book features 20 of her favorite dishes passed down from her mother, the famous 1950s actress Siput Sarawak, and five recipes of her favorite dishes served at the Royal Plaza on Scott’s Caf?Vienna (the hotel that partnered in the publishing of her book). As an added bonus, the book also includes childhood photos and love poems dedicated to her by her husband.
Sarawak had spent the past three and a half months producing this book, making trips between Singapore and her home in Las Vegas. In marketing the book, she had completed a 13-part Chef Diva series that aired in Singapore, Brunei and Malaysia. Part of the proceeds from the book will go to children’s charities.
Sarawak has been performing for several decades, bursting onto the Singaporean pop scene in the 1960s. Since then, she has won over fans in Malaysia and Indonesia. She is known for her funky dance moves, outlandish costumes, and daring stage presence. Her style of music mixes almost every genre together from pop, rock & roll, R&B, soul and disco. She continues to be a regular performer at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas.
The first South Korean director to win at Berlin
Kim’s 10th feature film tells the story of a father (Lee Eol) who discovers that his teenage daughter (Kwak Ji-Min) and her best friend (Seo Min-jung) are taking part in child prostitution. In an attempt to salvage his daughter's dignity, the father runs off on a murderous rampage. The result is a socially sensitive story that describes the process in which the father and daughter learn to forgive each other despite resentment and murder.
This is the first time that a South Korean director has been recognized with this award, even though Kim’s film Bad Guy had competed for the prize unsuccessfully in 2002. The director said that he did not even expect to win the award since the movie only took 11 days to film with a budget of 440 million won (approximately $378,840). Three Korean film directors have received honors for best director at three major international festivals including Im Gwon-taek for Chihwaseon at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival and Lee Chang-dong for Oasis at the 2002 Venice Film Festival.
Other winners at the festival included best actor award for David Hendler in Daniel Burman’s Lost Embrace. The best actress award was split between Charlize Theron for her role in Monster and Catalina Sandino Moreno for Maria Full of Grace. Winning the coveted Gold Bear award was Fatih Akin’s Turkish-German movie Head On. The NETPAC Prize award, which stands for the The Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema, went to South of the Clouds by Zhu Wen for its sensitive portrayal of a retiree's journey across China to fulfill a lifetime dream. Zhu Wen made his directorial debut with Seafood and has published four anthologies of short stories, a collection of poetry, and a novel.
For more information, please visit: www.berlinale.de/en/f_main_einst.html.
Seo Taiji and Yang Hyun Suk reunite
Seo Taiji and Yang Hyun Suk of Seo Taiji and Boys will be reuniting for the KBS Seo Taiji Special that will be filmed on February 27 and be aired on March 5 since the group's break up in 1996. This event marks the first time in ten years that Seo Taiji will be performing on KBS. For this reason, KBS has prepared to spend over $260,000 on the event alone.
The two, along with Lee Juno, had formed Seo Taiji and Boys, Korea's legendary boy band credited with transforming the face of Korean pop music by introducing a fresh style of Korean rap and hip-hop originating from African American rap. They debuted in 1992 with the album Nan Ara Yo (I Know) and went on to produce three more albums before disbanding on January 31, 1996.
Since the band’s breakup, Seo Taiji has gone on to have a successful solo career, producing singers such as Nell and Pia. Yang Hyun Suk, on the other hand, has become a successful businessman, creating YG (Yang Goon) entertainment where he produced successful R&B and hip-hop artists such as Big Mama, 1Tym, Wheesung, Seven, Lexy, and Jinusean.
Seo Taiji and Yang Hyun Suk are also considering combining Seo Taiji singers and YG family singers to hold a nationwide tour together.
Hong Kong Arts Festival
The 32nd annual Hong Kong Arts Festival, taking place from February 3rd to March 7th, will be featuring various arts and entertainment ranging from Chinese opera, jazz, dance, theater, and various cultural exhibitions. Performers at this year’s event include the Hong Kong Repertory Theater, the Zurich Ballet, the Seinedan Theater Company, Jane Birkin, Bobby McFerrin, Los Romeros, and many more.
The first festival was launched in 1973 by the non-profit organization, Hong Kong Arts Festival Society. The goal of the festival is to further the arts and entertainment in Hong Kong by not only showcasing local talent, but also overseas talent. Some of the past artists and groups that have taken part in the festival include the Glyndebourne Festival Opera, James Galway, Jose Carreras, the Mark Morris Dance Group, Moscow Art Thaeter, Paris Opera Ballet, Yo-yo Ma, and the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.
For more information, please visit www.hk.artsfestival.org.
Celebrating Chinese Valentine’s Day
The Spring Lantern (Yuen Siu) festival also known as Chinese Valentine’s Day has been taking place throughout Hong Kong and China in the month of February. This festival, which originated more than 2,000 years ago, marks the end of the Chinese New Year celebration. It falls on the fifteenth day of the first month of the Chinese New Year, this year, falling on February 4th. The festival is referred to as Chinese Valentine’s day because lantern markets were a favorite meeting place for young couples.
The festival is normally celebrated with music, dancing, acrobats, and brightly colored lanterns. Activities include the Lantern Riddle game, in which participants try to answer the mysterious riddles written on the lanterns. During this festival, single people also gather together to play matchmaking games. The festival is marked by special evening celebrations in Ko Shan Park in Kowloon, organized by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department that took place on February 5th. Spring Lantern Festivals were also celebrated at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre until February 19th and at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre piazza until February 22nd.
Hong Kong singer Miriam Yeung in concert
Hong Kong singer and actress Miriam Yeung held her third solo concert at the Hung Hom Hong Kong Coliseum on February 6-10, performing selections from her latest album Miriam Melodies. Her five-day performance also featured musical guests such as Richie Ren, Edmond Leung, Kelly Chen, Ekin Cheung, and Anthony Wong.
Yeung first entered the music scene in 1995 when she won a local singing contest. After that initial win, she was picked up by Capital Artist. She debuted with her first album, The Wolf Has Come in 1996. Since then, she has released over 20 albums and won a legion of fans in Southeast Asia, Taiwan, Singapore, as well as the United States and Canada. This former nurse is also a successful actress, debuting in 1997 in such TV dramas as “Man’s Best Friend,?“Moments of Endearment,?and “A Taste of Love.?She has won numerous awards for her singing and acting. In 2003 alone, she won awards such as the Top Ten Song Award for “A Pity I’m an Aquarius?and Most Popular Mandarin Song Silver Award for “To Be Afraid of Nothing?at the TVB JSG Annual Awards.
Incubus to perform in Asia for their World Tour
Incubus will be performing in Asia, Europe, and Australia as part of their 2004 World Tour to promote their latest album, A Crow Left of the Murder, which was released on February 3rd. As part of their Asian agenda, they will be kicking off their tour in Japan on March 3rd and make their way to Korea on March 10th. They will also be appearing in the Philippines, Thailand, and Malaysia. Incubus is just one of the few rock bands that have toured Asia within the past year with past performers being Limp Bizkit, Linkin Park, and Korn.
The five-member band from Calabasas, California had their start in high school where they would regularly build up their reputation by performing at various parties, all-age clubs, and even the Roxy on Hollywood’s Sunset Strip. But they didn’t gain mainstream attention until 1997 when they released their first EP Enjoy Incubus in 1997. Since then, they have released four more albums and have performed alongside other greats such as Korn, 311, Hoobastank and Sugar Ray. Their music is characterized by rock metal combined with funk and hip hop.
Below is a list of their tour dates in Asia. For the more information, or to get the complete listing of their tour, please visit their official website at www.enjoyincubus.com.
March 3, 2004
Tokyo, Japan - Budokan
March 5, 2004
Osaka, Japan - Zepp
March 6, 2004
Fukuoka, Japan - Zepp
March 8, 2004
Nagoya, Japan - Diamond Hall
March 10, 2004
Seoul, Korea - Olympic Hall
March 12, 2004
Manila, Philippines - Ultra Football Field
March 14, 2004
Bangkok, Thailand - BEC Tero Hall, Lumpini Night Bazaar
March 16, 2004
Kuala, Lumpur Malaysia - Merdeka Stadium
Leading Violinist gives concert in Korea
Gidon Kremer, one of the world’s most famous Virtuoso violinist performed at the Seoul Arts Center Stage on February 17. This event marked his seventh time performing in Korea. He presented violin concertos and sonatas of Schubert, one of his favorite composers.
Born in Latvia in 1947, Kramer studied at the Moscow Conservatory under the guidance of David Oistrakh. He has won the 1967 Queen Elizabeth competition, and has built a reputation as one of the world’s leading violinist. He has recorded more than 100 albums and appeared on almost every major concert stage. He has collaborated with famous conductors including Leonard Bernstein, Herbert von Karajan, Riccardo Muti, Zubin Mehta, Claudio Abbado, and Lorin Maazel.
He was not only a performer that night but also a conductor, leading the Kremerata Baltica, the chamber orchestra that was launched by him in 1997 to foster the outstanding young musicians from the three Baltic States.
Within those few short years, the ensemble has built a reputation for itself and has become one of the most recognized in the world’s classical music scene. Their After Mozart album released in October 2001, won the 2001 Grammy Award for Best Small Ensemble Performance. They have given numerous concerts with noted soloists and conductors like Jessye Norma, Roman Kofman, and David Geringas. They are scheduled to tour in Australia this spring, and in Japan and United States this fall.
Date Posted: 2/20/2004