Music for Shànghǎi MiMi is inspired by shidaiqu which is a unique style of music developed in Shanghai in the 1920s and 30s. It is a blend of Chinese folk & American jazz fusion, and which could only have come out of a city where musicians from every corner of the world lived and worked.
Shidaiqu has been celebrated in Chinese culture for decades, and much has been written over the years, but there is a story to its resurgence for Shànghǎi MiMi and the reason we have chosen to base our show around this style of music. In 2003 global music giant EMI was clearing out an old warehouse in Mumbai, India in preparation for its demolition, having been there since the 1920s when it manufactured and distributed records under the Pathé label. In the warehouse, workmen unearthed a trunk with Chinese writing on it and inside were the mother shells of about 800 songs from the thirties and forties. These were the reels used to press the stamper that produced the old vinyl 78s. Music as unique as the city in this remarkable era, a mixture of Eastern and Western influences, blues, jazz, traditional Chinese opera and folk music.