China is a country that has become increasingly impossible to ignore over the past two decades, yet there is a lot that is still unknown about it. One short cut to learning about the place could include listening to the songs of Anglo-Irish musician Kevin McGeary.
Having lived in the country from 2007 to 2018, McGeary taught himself the language and later gained some notoriety for writing Chinese-language songs. The lyrics tended to be about the country’s social issues, including mistreated migrant workers and badly behaved tourists.
McGeary currently performs music and comedy in Manchester as The Kev, with successful gigs including this one. Meanwhile his Chinese songs take on present day issues with a twist, and have been featured in ‘China Daily’, on Guangdong Television, and other international media. He has just finished recording his final Chinese album, ‘We Need to Talk about The
You can join him at the launch event online. On screen there will be subtitles with translations of the lyrics and stories behind what they are about.
What the experts are saying
Kevin’s Chinese songs are full of humour, wit, and irony. They make us laugh as well as making us think deeply.
Zhen Li – Assistant Professor of Linguistics, Education University of Hong Kong Member of Opera Hong Kong
As a lyricist, Kevin irreverently channels the Wild West flavour of Shenzhen, China’s iconic border town that’s populated by a pot-pourri of overnight millionaires, threadbare migrant laborers, sultry wannabe-mistresses from the hinterlands, and a dash of white trash. Get the album while you can — the next gig he does in China the outraged crowd will be sure to scream, “Lock him up!”
Bruce Humes – Translator of best-seller Shanghai Baby
‘Fantastic….Imagine Paul McCartney, Weird Al Yankovic, and Jimmy Carr had a threesome and their love child wrote these songs. Kevin will tug on your funny bone and tickle your heart strings, or maybe the other way around.’
Lehyla Heward – Lecturer in Chinese Studies at
University of Malta
These authentically Chinese songs capture the sentiments of ordinary people. They are funny at the same time as being thought-provoking. It is hard to believe they are actually written by a foreigner.
Hellen Hou – Business analyst
Examples of the songs (with subtitles)
《水围之恋》’Shuiwei Nights’ about the phenomenon of the kept women of wealthy men.
《中国姑娘》’Chinese Girl’ about China’s self-image as the home of chaste women and strong marital values.
《老红》’Lao Hong’ about uncultured Chinese tourists embarrassing their country when abroad.
《十字路口》’Intersection’ about the transactional nature of dating and the tendency for
men to pay ‘break-up fees’.
about commemorating the dead, which shows his less cynical side.
Follow Kevin online
- Website: kevinmcgeary.com