Token White Guy

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Enlightenment comes with little regard to time or space. I learned this in a hidden corner of a central Beijing shopping mall last Christmas. If it hadn't hit me before then, I certainly came to a satori of sorts as I was pounding on a conga to the fourth round of 'Girl from Ipanema' in as many days. It's not that I don't like the song (there's a time and a place for everything, after all), or that the conga is completely unnecessary for a live version of this tune, to say nothing of the dozen other jazz standards that I played over the course of four afternoons. It wasn't even that our audience was composed of uninterested shoppers, mall employees and the staff of the Adidas shop not six feet from the 'stage'. It was the fact that my face was more important to the gig than either my drum or my abilities thereupon: I was there not in the capacity of conga player. I was there in the capacity of Foreigner.

General information

Author Jon Campbell
English title Token White Guy
Publication PopMatters
Date of publication 2005 exactly on 2005/05/25
Original URL The original article was posted on

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Keywords & Genre

The following keywords / genres apply for this article:

Beijing, Rock

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