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Chage and Aska resurrected
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It is difficult to stay popular with fresh, sexy, and talented new acts appearing almost every day. It's even more difficult to remain popular for 28 years.

Japanese music duo Chage & Aska promote their November 17 Shanghai concert in the city in this recent photo.

The Japanese musical duo Chage & Aska, founded in 1979, will perform at Shanghai Grand Stage next month, marking the only overseas stop on their Alive in Live tour.

The duo held one concert in Shanghai each year between 1997 and 1999, and getting a ticket for any of those shows back then was considered a miracle.

The band hasn't visited since then because they felt "we don't have enough fresh things for the Chinese audiences."

During their long musical career, the two have won significant awards including "Best Asian Singer," "Asia's Best Selling Singer," "Japan's Best Singing Group," among many others.

Many Chinese fans started hearing their songs on popular Japanese TV dramas during the "J-pop trend" in the early 1990s.

The songs of Chage & Aska, are either encouraging or romantic and were often selected as the theme tunes or the end songs for those dramas.

Others first heard the Chinese versions of their songs covered by pop stars from Hong Kong and Taiwan.

"There are eight Chinese singers who sang Chinese versions of our songs. We feel honored," says the duo, who agree that it's been hard staying together as a group for such a long time.

"But the music speaks for itself. When we have disagreements, we follow the music and let the music decide."

Fans are extremely excited about the concert although the highest price of the ticket, at 1,880 yuan (US$250), is high even when compared Western stars' concerts.

For many fans, the concert is not only a live performance, but also a chance to return to their youth.

"I still remember the time when we all sat in front of the drama '101st Proposal' and eagerly waited for the end song," says Carol Xu, who majored in Japanese due to her love of the songs of Chage & Aska.

The history of the band reflects that of the Japanese music scene.

The two men, now both in their late 40s, went to the same high school and university without knowing each other. Finally, they met through music when Aska was attracted by the guitar playing of Chage.

Influenced by the Beatles, they sing about love, dreams, youth, and hope, with simple and pleasant melodies for accompaniment.

In the team's early years in the 1980s, the Japanese music scene was occupied by young and lovely pop idols with light, easy and energetic songs.

Surprisingly though, Chage and Aska, neither young nor cute, rose to stardom through their persistence.

In 1988, when the group was well established, Chage and Aska split for three years. Chage formed a band titled Multi Max while Aska also released his spin-off album and single. The two took different roads but both succeeded.

In 1991, Chage and Aska got back together as a duo with the hit song "Say Yes," the theme song of "101st Proposal."

The single sold 2.8 million copies, a miracle in the history of Japan's entertainment business and the song also marked the takeover of those experienced and talented singers from the young cute pop idols.

"Now we want to do Asian music, we want to make it possible for all Asians to appreciate our music, no matter what their backgrounds and languages are," notes the duet.

For the Shanghai concert, the duet is planning to sing a classic pop song from the late Teresa Teng, who was extremely popular in the 1980s and lived in Japan for a long time. The organizer notes that traditional Chinese costumes and instruments can also be expected.

Chage and Aska Shanghai Concert
Date: November 17
Venue: Shanghai Grand Stage
Tel: 021-6448 0898
Tickets: 180-1,880 yuan

(Shanghai Daily October 11, 2007)

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