Dazed Digital

Shanghai

The Lemons in Shanghai

March 21, 2011

AKA... The Mongolian Strokes

  • Text by Satellite Voices

Guest feature by Jake Newby

The Lemons, who are coming to Shanghai for the first time in April, have an unusual moniker – they’re known as The Mongolian Strokes. The indie rockers, who formed in 2004, are the first rock band to achieve mainstream success in Mongolia, where rock has seeped into the culture since Mongolia’s democratic revolution and move from Soviet rule in 1990.

"The Lemons were the first band in the post-Communist era to reach a pop audience and legitimately rock," says lead singer Odno, who’s become a style icon for his trademark dark shades, fedora and indie swagger. The Lemons shows can draw crowds of up to a thousand, and for a few years they’ve been the main draw of Playtime Festival, Mongolia’s biggest rock festival. On The Strokes, Odno says: "We love The Strokes, and we tried to include some aspects of The Strokes in our music, but we play our own music – we want to do something new."

They’re still not the most famous Mongolian band in China, though. That claim goes to Hanggai, a Beijing-based ethnically Mongolian outfit, whose raucous live shows involve throat-singing and traditional Mongolian instruments mixed with rock, all performed wearing Mongolian costumes. "They spread traditional Mongolian music to a foreign audience, but we play rock music, pure and simple," says Odno.

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