Sunday 29 Jul // 21:00


Music style

The diverse range of styles, experiences and influences brought into the musical mix give Smiling Knives their distinctive sounds: rhythmic, driving, melodic. They draw inspiration from the folk sounds of the UK/China/Mongolia and Balkan gypsy and Arab music, to which they add a little wigged out funkadelica, mixed with jazz and rock guitar chops.

Gary Hurlstone, (Da Dao) (UK) vocals, guitar and effects, has developed his own Celtic guitar style, exciting, rhythmic and sometimes fret-board scorching. Added to this is the wild and sensual gypsy violin style of Rael Solis May (Mexico). Liang Ying (China) adds her distinctive stylish touch as a percussionist and Xiao Du anchors the whole thing down on bass.

Music of Smiling Knives can be heard at

Album:The Zen Kick

Folk-rock that picks up musical passengers from Lhasa via the Grasslands of Mongolia, before heading west along the new Pan Celt Freeway in search of its UK rock roots. Melodic, soulful storytelling infused with wisps of digitally derived electronica and dub reggae: freak, genre defying, unexpected and fun.

Members of the Smiling Knives

Gary Hurlstone (UK): vocals, guitar and effects

Gary is a British songwriter who has collaborated with many musicians throughout the UK and China at festivals, on TV and radio as well as having toured extensively with rock and folk musicians. He has performed in jazz, blues, folk, Cajun and Zydeco bands and appears on several albums.

Rael Solis May (Mexico): Violin

An exciting technically gifted performer, Rael was a member of the Jewish Quarttet of Ekaterinburg and former member of “The Guevara project”. He is also part of a major eastern European music project called “Karibe-Balkanika”, a fusion experiment of latin jazz, balkan and arab music.

Xiao Du (China): Bass

Born in Inner Mongolia and having studied music in college, Xiao Du has joined three bands Liang Ying s band, Mr. Zhou and the Smiling Knives.

Liang Ying (China): Percussion

Liangying has a straightforward, authentic approach to performance which helps her to retain her calmness. She is a multi-instrumentalist and singer performing regularly in Shenzhen and festivals in China, working with a number of different bands. Liang Ying joins Smiling Knives as percussionist and backing vocalist.

  • Start: 21:00
  • Tickets: Rmb 50