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Busking in the City – An interview with Double zc

20.10.2015 | music.
Chung Kai Yan

Chung Kai Yan

西九網站編輯
Siuying (left) and Catherine.

Siuying (left) and Catherine.

Walking along the waterfront promenade I caught the mellow sound of an acoustic guitar and two female voices and saw that a small crowd had gathered to listen. The performers were Double zc, a duo formed by fresh grad Siuying and guitar teacher Catherine. Having performed in various places around Hong Kong, the group recently ventured out to West Kowloon and played at Freespace Happening for the first time. Taken by their music, I grasped the chance to talk with them.

The ’twins’ at the Waterfront Promenade.

The ’twins’ at the Waterfront Promenade.

The two friends bear such a strong resemblance to each other that I had to ask what brought them together. ‘My cousin met Siuying first,’ said Catherine. ‘She thought we looked so similar, like we were lost twins, so she introduced us.’ It wasn’t long before the two ‘twins’ bonded over music.

Like many buskers, Double zc started off on YouTube but decided to take their music onto the streets to reach a different audience. Their move from cyberspace to real-world public spaces was inspired by a friend who had busked during a working holiday in Australia. Intrigued, Siuying decided to have a go in Hong Kong. ‘We hope our music will touch people. If we can move someone who’s rushing through the street, or put a smile on the face of someone who’s having a bad day, that makes us happy.’ Having listened to their music while working, I can only say they’re on the right track.

Double zc hope that busking can become an integral part of street life in Hong Kong.

Double zc hope that busking can become an integral part of street life in Hong Kong.

Double zc have been playing together for three years now, often performing in the streets of Tsim Sha Tsui and Mong Kok. But like many buskers in Hong Kong, they’re familiar with being asked to move on. ‘It’s not uncommon that we set everything up only to be stopped halfway through our performance. It happens all the time. Why make it so difficult to perform in public spaces when so many people in Hong Kong actually enjoy street performances?’ Siu Ying sighed. She noted that busking is widely accepted in places like Europe, South Korea and Taiwan – where buskers can perform without the pressure of being moved on by the authorities, and can even earn a bit of money from appreciative onlookers.   Catherine said they would keep on singing even if there was no financial reward. But what they’d really like is a workable street performance scheme. ‘We’re hoping it can start with West Kowloon – that more people in Hong Kong, and the authorities too, will grow to understand and accept street performance, and that ultimately, the culture can spread and flourish in Hong Kong.’

About Double zc: Hong Kong singer-songwriter duo Catherine and Siuying had their debut on YouTube in 2012 and started busking in 2014.

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