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Wong Ka Kui
Kakui03.jpg
Chinese name 黃家駒 (Traditional)
Chinese name 黄家驹 (Simplified)
Pinyin Huáng Jiājū (Mandarin)
Jyutping Wong4 Ga1 Keoi1 (Cantonese)
Ancestry Taishan, Guangdong
Origin Hong Kong
Born June 10, 1962(1962-06-10)
Hong Kong
Died June 30, 1993 (aged 31) (Internal bleeding due to head injuries)
Tokyo, Japan
Other name(s) Koma Wong
Occupation Singer, Musician, Actor
Genre(s) Cantopop, Hard rock, Pop-Rock
Instrument(s) Guitar
Years active 1983-1993

Wong Ka-Kui (June 10, 1962 - June 30, 1993) was a Hong Kong composer, songwriter, musician and singer. He was the lead vocalist, rhythm guitarist, and the founder of the Hong Kong rock band Beyond.

He composed more than 90 percent of the songs for Beyond and wrote a few award-winning lyrics. Ka-Kui is remembered for his musical talents as well as his unique and powerful voice that is able to convey a number of emotions. His songs are often addressing humanity and social issues such as injustice, war and peace, racism, poverty, family and pursuit of dream.

Wong Ka-Kui had a great influence on at least a generation of Chinese because of his outlook on life and the spirit of never giving up. He devoted his entire life to achieve change in the Hong Kong music industry and also tried to make a difference in the world.

While filming a gameshow for Fuji Television in Japan on June 24, 1993, Wong Ka-Kui fell off a 3 meter platform head first, and was hospitalized immediately. He died after spending several days in coma due to internal bleeding from head injuries.

Contents

Biography

Early life

While a teenager, Wong Ka-Kui was greatly interested in European and American music. At age 17, Ka-Kui was given an acoustic guitar from his neighbour. From that moment on, he spent most of the time learning music on his own while still working in other jobs[1]. His friends described Ka-Kui as a music maniac because he would never feel tired of playing music. In an interview, Ka-Kui recalled those earlier days as tough and harsh to him. Because rock music has minimal prominence in Hong Kong, hardly anyone understood Ka-Kui's love for Rock N'Roll. His parents said he was useless, and most people thought he was crazy because whenever they saw him, he was doing nothing except playing guitar.

The formation of Beyond

In 1983, Wong Ka-Kui met Yip Sai Wing, and formed a rock band called Beyond. Yip Sai Wing was the drummer of the band and Wong Ka-Kui was the leading vocalist and guitarist. In the same year they won an award for “Best Band” in a competition sponsored by Guitar Magazine. Paul Wong, initially designed posters and record covers for Beyond, joined the band later on as a guitarist. In 1984, Wong Ka-Kui's younger brother, Wong Ka Keung joined the band as a bassist. Since then Beyond remained an independent band, playing music at nightclubs and schools. In 1986, Beyond self-published "Goodbye Ideals" on cassette tape. Their early styles were mostly hard rock, new wave, post-punk, experimental and avant-garde[2]. Their later manager, Leslie Chan, attended one of their live performances and was impressed by their unique style. As a result, Chan invited Beyond to sign with Kinn's music. However, their hard rock style was not widely accepted by listeners in Hong Kong. Disappointing album sales presented Beyond with a dilemma [1]. In 1987, Beyond released their first album Arabian Dancing Girl. Their music began softened with keyboard, but their album sale still couldn’t meet the expectations. At the same time, they were constantly criticized by other rock bands about commercializing their original hard rock music. In 1988, Beyond released album Modern Stage with some pop songs. For the first time, they included some slow-paced, love theme songs as well as songs with satirical lyrics about their Society. Again, their album sale was not successful, and their management company threatened that no more opportunities would be provided to them if they fail again.

First Success

Realizing the situation they were in, Beyond released their next album Secret Police with songs that were more in the popular genre. Songs such as 大地(The Land) and 喜歡你(Loving You) from the recording 秘密警察(Secret Police) gained tremendous popularity, followed by Beyond's increased recognition and public appearances. Several songs they composed later proved incredible success as well. They received awards for 真的愛你(Truly Love You) and 俾面派對(Social Party). Truly Love You is a tribute song to mothers, which is one of the best-known songs from Beyond. Social Party is a satire song about the Hong Kong entertainment industry, in which musicians are often asked to appear in unrelated TV game shows.

Social Concerns

Gradually Beyond became the most popular band in Hong Kong. At the same time marked the turning point of their music career. They paid more attention to the social issues and the ongoing events around the world. Wong Ka-Kui won the Best Lyric award for his touching, epic-like lyric for 光輝歲月(The Glorious Days), which is a tribute to Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, former president of South Africa. In 1991, Beyond visited Kenya and witnessed the poverty and misery there. When they came back to Hong Kong, Ka-Kui wrote a number of songs addressing the serious problems he saw in the trip. The most famous is Amani, which urges to stop wars and demand peace. The Beyond Third World Foundation was created in the same year with profits from the redistribution of an early album.

Career in Japan

Realizing the restriction on original music in Hong Kong, Beyond decided to redirect their career to Japan. In January 1992, Beyond signed a worldwide management contract with Japanese record label Amuse. His stage name was "Koma"; many fans still blaming this "cursed" name. During the year, they released an album called The Revolution Continues. In May 1993, Beyond returned to Hong Kong with a new album Rock and Roll. Wong Ka-Kui's signature work 海闊天空(Under a Vast Sky, sometimes translated as “Vast Sky and Boundless Sea”) won the Best Original Song award in Hong Kong. Before they went back to Japan, Beyond held an unplugged concert in Hong Kong and Malaysia, which was Beyond’s last concert with Wong Ka-Kui.

Death

"For us and for Hong Kong, the incident was not merely about the loss of an artist. It was about losing a revolutionary of music." - Paul Wong on the death of Ka Kui.

In order to promote their new record, Beyond participated in the filming of a very popular Japanese game show "Ucchan-nanchan no yarunara yaraneba" in Fuji Television studio on June 24, 1993. The stage floor was wet and slippery. While playing a game, Wong Ka Kui fell off the platform with one of the hosts Uchimura. Ka Kui hit the ground head first and fell into coma immediately. News about this accident was scarcely covered in the Japanese press. However, people in Hong Kong were shocked as soon as they learned about this accident. Realizing the tremendous popularity Wong Ka-Kui had in Hong Kong, people in Japan paid more attention to him, inviting plenty of medical experts to help. At the same time, Beyond's fans in both Hong Kong and Japan kept praying for Ka-Kui. On June 30, 1993, the Japanese representative announced Wong Ka-Kui's death in a press conference. Ka-Kui's funeral procession caused traffic in various major streets in Hong Kong to grind to a standstill, and almost every famous Hong Kong Cantopop singer was in attendance to pay their respects. He was buried in Tseung Kwan O Cemetery.

Influences on Hong Kong's music

Another dream of Ka-Kui was to help local musicians. Along with the other members of Beyond, they established a foundation offering assistance to aspiring artists in creating and publishing their works. As the leader of Hong Kong's only band to have transitioned from the underground scene to the mainstream, Ka-Kui has been cited as influential and inspiring by many of today's crop of musicians and bands. In addition, Ka-Kui has often been credited as a positive force in Hong Kong's music industry along with the Godfather of Cantopop, Sam Hui - both noted for creating and setting standards.

Trivia

  • On November 8, 2005, Hong Kong post office released a stamp collection called "Hong Kong Pop Singers". Wong Ka-Kui was one of the five singers who had their images printed on stamps.
  • In a vote conducted by Sina China in 2007, Wong Ka-Kui was one of the Most Missed Celebrity along with Leslie Cheung and Anita Mui.
  • Wong Ka-Kui's favorite singer was David Bowie. He admitted that Bowie had a great influence on him.
  • There are many tribute songs dedicated to Wong Ka-Kui, including "The Champion of Love" by Japanese rock group Bakufu-Slump, 佢 ("He") by Soler, 祝你愉快 (Wish You Well) by his brother Wong Ka Keung, "Paradise" by Beyond, 抗戰二十年 (Combat for 20 years) by Beyond and 故事 (The Story) by Paul Wong.
  • In the last concert of Beyond in 2003, Wong Ka-Kui has been resurrected in the form of a life-size video projection, alongside his former band mates while they sang the song 抗戰二十年 (Combat for 20 years) in memory of him[3].
  • For the Sichuan earthquake appeal, 海闊天空 (Under a Vast Sky) was used as the music for the theme song with the lyrics re-written by Andy Lau.

Discography

  • Goodbye Ideals (再見理想) (cassette) 1986
  • Waiting Forever (永遠等待) (E.P.) January, 1987
  • A New World (新世界) (E.P) May, 1987
  • Arabian Dancing Girl (阿拉伯跳舞女郎) (L.P) July, 1987
  • A Lonely Kiss (E.P.) (孤單一吻) September, 1987
  • Modern Stage (L.P.) (現代舞台) March, 1988
  • Secret Police (L.P.) (秘密警察) September, 1988
  • The Best of Beyond Yesterday's Footprints (L.P.) (舊日的足跡) December, 1988
  • The Real Testimony (L.P.) (真的見證) December, 1989
  • "A Moment of Romance" Movie Soundtrack (E.P.) (<天若有情>電影原聲) June, 1990
  • Win Against Your Own Demon (E.P.) (戰勝心魔) June, 1990
  • The Fate Party (L.P.) (命運派對) September, 1990
  • Hesitate (L.P.) (猶豫) September, 1991
  • BEYOND LIVE (Concert) (L.P.) (91生命接觸演唱會) December, 1991
  • The Revolution Continues (L.P.) (繼續革命) August, 1992
  • The Ultimate Emptiness( E.P.) (無盡空虛) December, 1992
  • Beyond Belief (Mandarin) (信念) 1992
  • Rock and Roll (TC: 樂與怒) 1993
  • Wong Ka Kui's Everlasting Spirit-Special Collection( L.P.) August, 1993

Filmography

  • Cageman (籠民) (1992)
  • Beyond's Diary (Beyond日記之莫欺少年窮) (1991)
  • The Banquet (1991)
  • The Fun, the Luck, and the Tycoon (1989)
  • Happy Ghost 4 (開心鬼救開心鬼) (1989)

Selected Awards

  • 1989 - won "Song of the Year" award for the song "Truly Love You" at Hong Kong's Jade Solid Gold Awards

See also

Notes

References

  • Lee, Diane, Lee Joanne. Wong Ka-Kui: The Champion of Love. The Online Magazine to HKVP Radio. [1]
  • Yuen, Ye. "BEYOND BEYOND BEYOND." China Today. [2]
  • Lee, Diane, Lee Joanne. Wong Ka-Kui: The Champion of Love. The Online Magazine to HKVP Radio. [3]
  • Lee, Carmen. "20 Years Ago Today." Time. [4]

External links

Deceased Famous Singers in Hong Kong (Ref.)
Wong Ka Kui (aged 31) | Danny Chan (aged 35) | Roman Tam (aged 57) | Leslie Cheung (aged 46) | Anita Mui (aged 40)







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