In our vibrant city of Hong Kong modernity and tradition intersect at every corner. The relentless pace of life can sometimes mute the passions and individuality that ring true to our souls. Yet, in recent years, there’s a soulful resistance rising — a movement to reclaim the melodies of life through jamming! Jamming, the collaborative act of spontaneous music-making, has become a sanctuary for many. Whether you like to sing (we swear, the shower counts!) , can play an instrument, or simply like to sit back and bask in the atmosphere: jamming is a fun and inspiring activity that connects us back with one of the most human things we can possibly do in our lives … make music! What is Jamming?
In Pic: Jam session in progress
Jamming is the art of spontaneous, often improvised music making. Singers and musicians of all levels, from complete beginners to seasoned professionals with original albums under their belt, come together to create and experiment with sound in real time.
At jams, anything is possible. While some jammers might prefer to stick to covering famous songs (Hotel California will always be a hit!), yet others prefer to create entirely new compositions on-the-fly in a celebration of how music allows us to fully express ourselves and interact with others.
Interview with a Jammer
To get an inside look into the city’s jamming and music scene, LocalHood volunteer Renee Reimi, interviewed Jessica Zhang, an expat from Mainland China who’s been working in Hong Kong for 3 years. Besides her full-time job in the banking and finance industry, Jessica is also an avid jammer as well as the vocalist of 70s’ rock cover band Silver Train.
In Pic: Jessica is also an avid jammer (source: author)
LocalHood: What attracted you to jamming in the first place?
JZ: I love the energy and raw authenticity of jamming. It’s a safe space where I can connect with others who love music. Jamming is a great way to remind me to be truly present (you have to try carefully to listen to all the different instruments or singers to make sure you can fit in well)! LocalHood: Do you think a musical background or previous experience is necessary to attend a jam? JZ: Absolutely not! Though I’m lucky to have had a musical background since childhood, I’ve met plenty of people at jams with no prior musical experience who I’ve been able to learn a lot from as well. It’s also a great space to practice things I’m not so good at: for example, I’m currently just starting out learning how to play the guitar but I know when I’m ready to play in front of a crowd it will most probably be at a jam!
LocalHood: What’s the best part about attending jams in Hong Kong? JZ: For me I think it’s definitely the variety of people you meet and the diversity of the music you get to listen to. It’s amazing to meet all kinds of different people and yet still be connected by our love of music, no matter our skill level. Plus it’s always great to learn a new song you’ve never heard of before! If you’d like to hear Jessica sing, come to one of the many jams going on around the city or follow her band’s Instagram page (https://www.instagram.com/silver_train_/) to learn the details of their next gig!
Jams Around the City
1. Konfusion, Sai Ying Pun (every Monday, Tuesday and Thursday)
Time and Place: 8 pm onwards; 42-56 Queen’s Road West What to Expect: Acoustic jams on Monday, pop jams on Tuesday, jazz jams on Thursdays. Learn More: https://www.freejamhk.com/
2. The Aftermath, Central (every last Thursday of month)
Time and Place: 8 pm onwards; LG, 57 - 59 Wyndham Street What to Expect: Enjoy jamming out on a fully lit and equipped stage at a live music bar right in the heart of Central.
Learn More: https://www.freejamhk.com/
3. The Wanch (every Monday)
Time and Place: 9 pm onwards; 1/F, 90 Jaffe Road What to Expect: Hong Kong’s most famous live music bar welcomes you to its stage: expect a great sound system! Learn More: https://www.thewanch.hk/
4. Chez Trente
Time and Place: Secret times and location, follow on Instagram for info! What to Expect: A unique, stylish and intimate venue that’s a hit with professional musicians around Hong Kong yet happily accepts amateurs for jams.
Learn More: https://www.instagram.com/chez.trente/?hl=en
5. Community Drum Jam, Central and Discovery Bay
Time and Place: Different venues around Hong Kong, check website for details! What to Expect: Highly suitable for kids, this jam encourages families and communities to come together on various types of African drums, led by an experienced facilitator.
Learn More: https://www.drum-jam.com/
Whether you're a seasoned musician, a budding artist, or someone who just wishes to bask in the realm of spontaneous music, the city's jam sessions offer a rhythm for everyone.
So, grab an instrument (or just your enthusiasm!) and join the musical movement. Dive into the beat, and let Hong Kong’s jamming scene sweep you off your feet. See you there!