Picture Postings of Music Makers from Middle Kingdom:
There was music wherever we went in Hunan Province, China. As explained in the last posting the streets were filled with buskers who played both Chinese and Western melodies. Many of these minstrels were armed with guitars, flutes and even bongo drums to provide music for the passing crowd. Even in an ancient city called Phoenix, we heard modern music.
During one of our trips we had to run up a hill because of the early morning rain. We were about to visit the Chiang Kai Shek Museum in Chongqing but took shelter on the way when we chanced upon an outhouse. The large gazebo-like structure was a scene of gaiety and grace. A lady was playing on an electronic organ and accompanying another who was singing a Chinese classical song.
*When China boy meets China girl
In **Chinatown tonight
There'll be such fun
When day is done
In Chinatown tonight.
On the Yangtze cruise itself there was a performance nearly every night on the boat. We didn't realise that our group of glamorous dancers, singers and entertainers who had so much enthusiasm and talent on stage were the same youngsters who looked after our cabins, waited on us at dinner tables, cooked our delicious buffet meals and served us at the counters. Talk about multi-tasking!
We were all so grateful that many of us left handsome tips when we disembarked. Thanks to handsome Andy Li (no not Andy Lim) and his crew! He is multi-lingual and switched from English to Mandarin with ease when he provided live commentaries as we sailed through the river.
We also had a special performance by a group from Australia led by Barry Hunter (he's Brit). They were on the boat with us. You can check them on the RIGHT bar of this blog.
The long six-hour bus trips from one town to another could have taken a toll on us if it weren't for our China tour guide. Born and raised in the same province - she said she lived at one of the foothills of the mountain region - petite Wendy sang Hunan folk songs on the way but because of my poor handling of personal videos I was not able to down-load some of her performances on You Tube.
During the Three Gorges Dam tour we were off-loaded into smaller boats and sampled the sights of the Yangtze tributaries and mini-gorges. The sturdy, serious-looking boatman who looked after us gave a surprise performance when he sang a folk number (gruff but in tune) without accompaniment or music except to the lap, lap, lapping of the river and the soft chug-chug-chugging of the watercraft.
Like I explained, there was music everywhere during our boat excursions and land drives, music that might be alien to some but a joy to others. I wonder why the Chinese need an iPod?
Images: from my iPhone video screen grabs except #6 from You Tube by yangtzerivercruise.
*In an RTS (Radio Television Singapore) Talentime 1969 Finalists recording little MARIE TANG sang: 'When China Boy Meets China Girl'. You Tube contribution by lvlalaysiaboleh.
Words and music by Billy Reid. Song originally sung by Dorothy Squires.
**Probably the Chinatowns in the US and Canadian cities like Frisco and Vancouver.