Wong Ka Kui
' for us and for Hong Kong......the incident was not merely about the loss of an artiste. It was about losing a music revolutionary’ - Paul Wong on the death of Ka Kui.
Born in Hong Kong in 1962, Wong Ka Kui grew up in against a local pop scene where groups primarily recorded covers of American and Japanese songs. Ka-Kui’s admiration for David Bowie, and his individualistic style(s), coupled with his love for music and a deep-seated drive to succeed led to him teaching himself to play guitar from a book at the age of seventeen.
Within four years Ka-Kui had formed the group “Beyond” with friends and won the award for “Best Band” in a competition sponsored by Guitar Magazine – a testament to his perseverance and skill. Over the following years the band’s membership changed as they concentrated on writing their own material, virtually unheard of for a group from Hong Kong, and honing their skills. In 1986 they self-released a cassette “Goodbye Ideals” showing that they had moved from being an amateur group into one with talent, opinions and commercial appeal.
They were subsequently signed to Kinn’s Music and this gave Ka-Kui the ability to finally develop his music and lyrics in a style not normally present in his country’s music scene - he wanted to explore political and social themes as well as personal issues. This can be seen in songs such as “Glorious Days” and “Amani”, about Nelson Mandela and peace respectively.
As Beyond reached the status of an established group at the top of the music profession they were determined not to forget their roots and help other local groups find their own style. To do this they formed a foundation to support artists in their development. This was to ensure that the influence of Beyond, and Ka-Kui specifically, was to become more than that of just a successful group, they became a major driver in Hong Kong’s music industry both influential and inspiring.
Although the legacy was now in place Ka-Kui’s career did not continue for long. Suffering an accident on stage whilst on a Japanese game show, he fell in to a coma and subsequently died – he was 31.