Long Shen Dao plays determined to be the next big Reggae band Image

by Biko Kennedy

The power of Reggae music certainly has swept the world over in its near five decade span, touching everyone in varied ways and for Beijing-based Long Shen Dao – China's 'official' first-ever reggae band – Reggae music is the backbone of their very being.

Infusing that authentic Reggae sound with ancient Chinese culture, Long Shen Dao ( which translates to 'Way of the Dragon Spirit') members - consisting of lead singer/bass Guo Jian, guitarists Niu Mu and Gao Xu, keyboardist Fei Fei and drummer Gao Fei - grew up in different regions of China but met in Beijing and have been playing Reggae together since 2006.

"Reggae is one of the easier genres of music with which to communicate with listeners," said band member Guo Jian in a recent interview with CCTV (see above).

Their eclectic music draws on rock, dub, hip-hop, ska and electronica with Reggae as the undertone while they name the philosophy of Taoism ("the way") and the Chinese martial art form of Tai Chi as inspirations – and have perform Tai Chi techniques at a few live gigs and brought everything to life on their 2011-released debut album Tai Chi Reggae (listen below).

"It's a mix of several different influences. Reggae is where we start, but then we bring in electronic music, traditional Chinese music and others," Guo said.

Music promoter Jonathan Campbell also noted: "In my experience of bringing Chinese bands into the West - the amount of people whose heads perk up at the idea of Chinese 'blank' band, whether it's a Chinese punk band, Chinese reggae band, Chinese rock, people are just like, 'that I gotta see'.

"Bands sit through these interviews where they don't get to talk about the reason they do what they do. They're only talking about what their country is like, or more accurately, what people think their country is like," Campbell said.

Long Shen Dao have proven to be a great idea since its 2006 inception and now stands as a fantastic Reggae band more than ready to shake the Reggae universe.

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