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.: Story of the Hu Chi Tau Band

The Hu Chi Tau Band were a band in the Isle of Man during the 1940s and were stationed in Douglas to cheer up the troops here.

They would often play to prisoners of war in internment camps, and liked nothing better than to mix their traditional Lancashire folk music with the crazy rhythms of other nations.

Their Asian appearance shouldn’t fool you though – they were born and bred in Blackburn and had undergone highly painful scarring techniques using red hot pokers to sculpt their faces into a more oriental appearance.

Bizarrely, this happened before the band members had met each other, and recently unearthed diaries belonging to Bicky Thwaginsack (on the right playing the bongpipe with a saw) told how he’d been amazed to find Danko Billy Oofenthwaite (centre, on tin sticks) and Moirander Leventheep (left, playing the circular spade) had performed almost exactly the same amateur mutilations on themselves.

The trio met in the Cock and Fadger pub in central Blackburn in 1910 and immediately became fast friends. Bicky’s bongpipes were a perfect accompaniment to Danko Billy’s high-pitched voice – although it wasn’t until 1924 he started learning to play the newly-invented tin sticks.

Leventheep was a music teacher to the men working in the zirconium mines in and around Blackburn and taught himself to play the circular spade in 1918 in order to write a song commemorating the end of World War I. That melody, “The Hun is No More” was performed by Blackburn’s mayor from a balcony in the Town Hall a week after Germany’s surrender. Tens of thousands of people gathered for the event, and the trio of musicians realised they had a hit on their hands.

After a short tour of Luxembourg, they settled down in the Isle of Man and were feted by the populace, who’d never heard music before. In fact, it was only the arrival of the Hu Chi Tau Band which persuaded the Manx government to legalise musical instruments in 1935.

This was to be the band's golden age, notching them a string of hit songs.

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Written at 16:03 by G
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