indie Beijing? Introducing The Nocturnes – Irish/Chinese Beijing-based duo in Barkett 21.5

Nocturnes-with-Unicat-live-Berlin-barkett-21,5

Being a fan of alliteraton, there was once a time when I thought it’d be cool to have partner sites to indieBerlin around the world of places starting with B.

No idea, it just seemed a good idea at the time (spoiler: didn’t follow through haha); indieBrighton, indieBrazil, indieBarcelona, and – why not! – indieBeijing. This was the beginning of a chain of though that got me wondering: is there an independent music scene in Beijing – in China generally? I mean, must be, right? What would it sound like? Would it be similar to the kind of indie vibe you get in Europe? Or completely different?

It seems we have the beginnings of an answer: a wonderful indietronica duo from Beijing has got in touch and we were so impressed we’ve set them up with a concert together with our favourite Polish indietronica duo Unicat at one of our favourite new smaller venues – Barkett: on the 21st May, in case you were wondering.

The Nocturnes are an Irish guitarist and a Chinese singer: Dave Carey, after leaving his previous band, was looking for a singer for his new project; Leslie Liu was working in PR and fancied trying as a singer. A few years later, they’ve released an EP, Dust Into Glory, and an album, Lines Written in Code.

The releases have been warmly received, with one song being selected in China for a documentary on national television and another reaching number 1 on the Spotify Viral 50 chart on the week of its release. One reviewer summed up Dust Into Glory as a “sensual concoction of impeccably groomed arrangements, fluid nuanced piano chords and a seamless blend of English and Chinese vocals that linger in the air.”

Unicat were featured on the last Listen to Berlin soundtrack and have – coincidentally – toured China as well as Germany and Poland.

We have tickets to give away to indieTronica: Nocturnes + Unicat @ Barkett 21.5. Just write to us on FB here!


Noel Maurice is one of the founders of indieberlin. Originally from the UK via a childhood in Johannesburg, he has been resident in Berlin since 1991. Describing himself as a 'recovering musician', he is the author of The Berlin Diaires, a trilogy detailing the East Berlin art and squat scene of the early 90s, available on Amazon and through this site.

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