MusicDish e-Journal - January 31, 2015
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Zhang Si'an (aka Jean-Sébastien Héry)
Archive of Articles

In the year 2000, Zhang Si'an meets with most of Beijing's underground music bands and artists of the time and collaborates with them: "Wild Children", "Second Hand Roses", "Xiaohe", "Buyi", "Cold Blooded Animal", "Wang Juan", "Wan Xiaoli"... In 2001, he decides to stay in Beijing for a year and plays every wednesday night at the "River" bar, which back then was one of the center of the Beijing underground music and art. The bar was destroyed in 2003.

Travelling almost constantly in China from 2000 to 2004 (Beijing, Shanghai, Lanzhou, Xinjiang, Taiwan....), Zhang Si'an experiments with all kinds of music including folk, rock, electro...

Back to France in 2003, he records his first album in Chinese, "Lotus". This album is inspired by a trip with the members of the band "Wild Children" and "Water pushing melon" band leader Song Yu Zhe to Lanzhou. Together, they climb the Lotus mountain (Lianhuashan), localized in the south of Gansu (Lian Hua Shan) in order to listen to the songs of a local ethnic minority.

The album includes a remix of the Lianhuashan songs, as well as a tune that Zhang Si'an composed with a Xinjiang instrument called "Rivapu".

In his next albums, "Is it China" and "Naixin", Zhang Si'an uses ancient Chinses poetry and mixes it with music coming from his own imagination. For example, the songs "Jiefang wo" (Naixin) and "Jianlou house" (Is it China) use ancient Chinese poems. "Jiefang wo" corresponds to the poem called "Tianjing Sha Qiu Si", written during Yuan dynasty by poet Ma Zhi Yuan, "Jianlou House" corresponds to the poem "Lou Shi Ming", written during the Tang dynasty by poet Liu Yuxi.

The idea of the album "Is it China", is to create a mix between ancient Chinese music and culture and modern Western music by using Chinese music instruments such as "Zhong Ruan", or "Hulusi" as well as traditional rock instruments such as guitar, bass, and drums. On that album, Zhang Si'an recorded all the instruments himself. On some of the songs, singer Liu Hong joined him.

The next album, "Naixin", more accoustic, is mainly a series of songs composed on guitar and zhongruan. The album follows the same idea as "Is it China", with perhaps more influence from Blues and Electro music.

In 2007, artist "Chen Zhuo" asks him to write music for her sculpture exposition "Born in the 80's" that takes place in Tianjin the same year. These music recordings will lead to the release of the EP "Rêves d'enfance".

In 2006, as he comes back to live in Beijing, Zhang S'in meets with Ghana percussionist Sunny Dee (who later on will create "Afrokoko Roots") and Benny Oyama, young American guitar player from New York. Together they create "The Incredible JSB!", which purpous is to create a mix of musical styles ranging from Jazz to Rock, Bossa Nova, Reggae, and Chinese Folk. In between 2006 and 2010, the band released one studio album "Mad in China" and two live albums. The band still plays around in Beijing, with a new guitar player, Mathieu Wahiche (from the band "Mademoiselle").

Zhang Si'an participates nowadays in several projects in Beijing including:

Zhang Si'an (Solo project in Chinese)
The Incredible JSB! (World music trio with Sunny Dee and Mathieu Wahiche)
The Amazing Insurance Salesmen (Indie Rock, in English)
The Maix Jazz band.

With his different bands, Zhang Si'an plays in all cultural places of the Chinese capital, including Mao livehouse, Yugong Yishan, Jianghu bar, Jiangjinjiu bar, 2kolegas, D22, What bar etc....

Zhang Si'an also played at "Midi festival" in Beijing in 2008 and also at the "Ditan park festival" in Beijing in 2009 and 2010.


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