19: Nelson Hiu
Nelson Hiu knows the moment he went mad for music. “I was studying ethno-musicology in college and heard this Filipino Muslim funeral music,” the spirited 54 year-old recalls. “It was crazy sad. I couldn’t believe the feeling in that music. I realised the world has so much soul.”
Hiu has been inspired ever since, and we can thank APA head Fredric Mao for luring Hiu from his native Hawaii to boost Hong Kong’s music scene. In his 20 years here, Hiu has performed on everything from piano to bongos to erhus to home appliances (he likes to experiment). Recently at Kwai Tsing Theatre, for instance, Hiu led an eclectic multimedia performance of dancers and drummers in African, swing, jazz, and electronic music. Next on his calendar: the music for Diary of a Madman at Shouson Arts Theatre, November 7-9.
Fellow experimental music wiz Peter Scherr once witnessed the spell Hiu cast at a gig: “He held 1,500 people in rapt attention with nothing more than transistor radio static, profound concentration and a manic grin.” For his verve and imagination, we honour Nelson Hiu, a trailblazing artist, mad with soul.
Recommended listening: Music for Roaches, Birds & Other Creatures (1995)