'70s/'80s Folk Contests

ABOUT
A write-up by Kenny Wong to summarize this chapter of Folk History in HK 
The Golden Period of Folk Contests of Hong Kong
 
If anyone examines long enough the chronology of a specific activity in a community, they will discover there is always a golden period of it. For Group Folk Singing Contests (Folk Contests) in Hong Kong, the golden period would be around the years 1978 - 1989.

The heat wave of Folk Contests in HK was a result of the influx of Western contemporary folk music, a low barrier to acquiring an acoustic guitar, the popularity of folk singing in secondary schools, and major organizations seeing folk music as a market to grow audiences and demand for musical instruments.

Major open singing contests became the targets for passionate folk singers who aspired to test the extent of their own potential. There were numerous "contest goers" in that period going from one contest to another, year after year, and perhaps from one group to another - to those of us, participation itself was an enjoyable experience and excitement. While Folk Contests never really aimed to be a cradle for professionals, many professional singers and musicians in Hong Kong will tell us they have gone through the Folk Contests phase in their journeys.  

As an enthusiastic musician, I happened to ride on that wave together with my fellow bandmates and thoroughly enjoyed the process of competing in contests, having won and lost in quite a few - and I am honored to be asked to write a prologue for this section and feel humbled to share my view on the subject. I call upon the "contest goers" to connect or reconnect on this platform to help build a chronology of Folk Contests for collective memory.

Looking at the 21st century, the Folks Contests penetration is nowhere near that of the golden years. The way I see whether there exists a sustainable Folk Community in HK however is whether there is a capable and passionate organization persistently promoting folk music at the household level, and equally valuable is whether the younger generation can be engaged to keep folk music as a widespread music genre in Hong Kong.

HK Folk Club, way to go!

Kenny Wong
Founder & Band Leader
Spectacles/D'Spectacles 
 
25th October 2022

Year

Event

Folk Group

Results

1978

RTHK 全港業餘民歌大賽       

Ariel & Agnes     

1st

1979

RTHK 全港業餘民歌大賽       

Trinity

1st

1981

第一 Pop Folk 大賽             

D’Spectacles

1st

1981

工人歌唱大

Delta

1st

1981

RTHK 全港業餘民歌大賽       

D’Spectacles

1st

1982

第一屆城市民歌公開創作大賽

區桂芬、葉源春

1st

1982

Hong Kong Guitar Festival   

Mercury

1st

1983

夏日樂逍遙

Tri's Hi's

1st

1983

突破第二屆現代民歌創作大賽

陳德賢、鄭鴻昌

1st

1984

全港十八區歌唱大賽

D’Spectacles

1st

1986

Hong Kong Guitar Festival   

Capo

1st

1988

Hong Kong Guitar Festival   

Mercury

1st

1989

Yamaha Guitar Contest     

Tri's Hi's 1st

Teams mentioned above (in alphabetical order)

Ariel & Agnes

Ariel & Agnes (AA) were students from Good Hope School in the 70’s. They were not classmates but they belonged to the same choirs at school (Ariel with the altos/ Agnes with the sopranos). They met each other almost daily during choir practices for Hong Kong Schools Music Festivals. This incubated the joyful singing and harmonies between them. They started the singing duoAriel & Agnesin 1978 outside the school when they participated in three different folk contests during the same year:

1st, Commercial Radio’s 《日立樂迷小天地》,2nd, Albert Au’s《唱聚》at RTHK, and 3rd, the HK Amateur Singing Contest organized by LCSD & RTHK. They came first in all three contests, with the “紅番歌Eagle’s Feather(trad.) andUnwaking Dreams(Paul & Francis)

Capo

Capo has been performing since 1984 with Frankie (guitar/vocal), Stephen (guitar/vocal) and Winnie (keyboard/vocal). They pride themselves on their unique renditions of popular tunes from America, The Eagles, Crosby, Stills & Nash and more. Additionally, they have also dabbled with original compositions. Notable successes included the first-place finish in the 1987 Yamaha Guitar Contest (group category). They have also challenged traditional rock bands in the 90s Carlsberg Pop Music Festival with excellent results. In 2002, they finally fulfilled their mission with their first CD [Capo With You].

 

Delta

While in their study in secondary school, Samantha Lam Chi-mei, together with her
two schoolmates Yeung Kwok-wah and Lee Wing-hon, formed the Delta folk group.
In 1981, they started to win the championship in some minor singing contests and
invitations to performing in concerts came instantly. That triggered their ambition to
participated in other major music competitions with songs like “A World of Our
Own” leading to the winning of several notable awards. In March of the same year,
Samantha Lam became the winner of another competition with her original
composition “Homecoming”. This paved the way for the start of her professional
music career as an individual artist.

 

D'Spectacles

D'Spectacles was formed in 1981 by Kenny Wong and Johnny Fong who were former schoolmates at St. Francis Xavier's School, Tsuen Wan. The folk rock group won the first major title at CRHK's Pop Folk Contest with "Boat On The River". With Michael Wong's joining, the group won the RTHK folk contest with a 3-part-harmony song "Helplessly Hoping". D'Spectacles, with C K Mak's joining, made its claim to fame in 1984 by winning the Hong Kong 18-District Singing Contest with an original song "Desperate For Time". D'Spectalces was later joined by Kenneth Fong and the group performed in numerous concerts and participated in the album "Terry & D'Spectacles" in the late eighties. Over the years, D'Spectacles has continued to evolve, composed its own songs and it remains active to this day. 

Mercury

Mercury is a folk group with a long and illustrious history since 1981.  Active in the 80s folk music scene and performing in many concerts with their signature style of authentic, simplistic yet pleasant playing and singing. They love adding different sounds with mandolin, and acoustic guitars. The group has grown over the years by adding members they have met along the way that share mutual interests in music. Major awards included the 1982 Yamaha Guitar Contest and the 1988 HK Guitar Contest.

Tri’s Hi’s

A well-known folk group formed in the 80s with Patrick, Stephanie and Leo Kwan. The group have done excellent renditions of many tunes from the renowned American folk group Peter, Paul and Mary. They have also participated in Internal PPM festivals with favourable reviews. It is, therefore, no surprise that people referred to them as HK's PPM. Tri’s Hi’s has won many awards in various Hong Kong amateur singing competitions, including a first-place finish in the 1989 Yamaha Guitar Contest (group category).

Trinity

Trinity was formed in late 70s. Some early members comprised Terry Lau, Henry Wong and Barry Chung. In 1979-80 Albert Lui, Patrick Lui and Joe Tang also joined the group. They participated in some major music contests and achieved good results. Now 6-men strong and continued to perform in major folk concerts and events. They were also successful harmony singers and instrumentalists. In 1982 Joey Tang joined the group to replace Barry Chung who went study abroad. Starting from 1985, some of the members collaborated with the newly formed local band Tai-Chi and continued to flourish on their path to a fruitful music career.

 

Relevant Song Book by Kenny Wong ( *uploaded 1300 hrs hkt 2023)

 

- Flipbook

 

- Pdf

 

Remarks : all comments on this section is welcome , feel free to contact us to make this accurate !