Wong Ka Kui

Canzoni contro la guerra di Wong Ka Kui

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 sung by Beyond, and won several awards for his songwriting. Wong is remembered for his musical talents as well as his unique and powerful voice that was able to convey a wide range of emotions. Many of his songs address social issues such as injustice, war and peace, racism, poverty, family and pursuit of dreams.

Wong Ka-Kui's determination and perseverance inspired many young people. His songs, which echoed his outlook in life, are still a source of inspiration for many. 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 a coma due to internal bleeding from head injuries.

As a teenager, Wong Ka-Kui was greatly interested in European and American music. At the age of 14, Wong Ka-Kui bought an acoustic guitar and learned to play the instrument himself. After completing his studies, he worked in several different fields to finance his love for music. [1] His friends described Ka-Kui as a music maniac because he was never tired of playing music. In an interview, Ka-Kui recalled those earlier days as tough and harsh. 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.

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. 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. 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.
[edit] 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, and is one of the best-known songs from Beyond. "Social Party" is a satire about the Hong Kong entertainment industry, in which musicians are often asked to appear in unrelated TV game shows.
[edit] Social Concerns

Gradually Beyond became the most popular band in Hong Kong. This at the same time marked the turning point for their musical career. They paid more attention to social issues and the ongoing events around the world. Wong Ka-Kui won the Best Lyrics award for his touching, inspiring lyrics in 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 grinding poverty and misery there. Upon their return, a number of songs were written addressing the serious problems of Africa. The Beyond Third World Foundation was created in the same year with profits from the redistribution of an early album.

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. Wong's stage name was "Koma"; many fans still blame 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.
[edit] 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" (ウッチャンナンチャンのやるならやらねば!) 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. He fell 2.7m to the ground, landing head first, and fell into a coma immediately.[3] News about this accident was barely covered in the Japanese press. However, people in Hong Kong were shocked as soon as they learned about the 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 him. On June 30, 1993, a Japanese representative announced his death in a press conference. Wong 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.

The musical style of Beyond and Wong Ka Kui encompassed music from many styles, including Western classical music, heavy metal, oriental sounds, and country folk style. In doing so, their music created a unique blend, with its own distinguishing character much different from many other types of sounds.

Another dream of Wong 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, Wong has been cited as influential and inspiring by many of today's crop of musicians and bands. He has also often been credited as a positive force in Hong Kong's music industry along with the Godfather of Cantopop, Sam Hui – both were noted for creating and setting standards.