Monday, September 12, 2011

Things I Didn't Expect to Hear in Hong Kong

Today is the Mid-Autumn Festival in China, a big holiday, so there have been lots of public events and festivals. These have been the occasion for some interesting sonic experiences.

On Sunday, we went to the Latern Walk in the park in Tin Shui Wai, the town just north of us (also where the boys go to school). Shannon will be posting more fully about this evening (and the Dragon Fire Dance I'll talk about below), but I wanted to post a video of a band that was playing there.

The band is called SIU2, and I'd have to classify them as jazz fusion. But the things being fused here are jazz and traditional Chinese instruments. Though not an improvisational group, the music was quite good. The instruments were amazing. There was a banjo-like instrument with three strings. There was a multi-tubed mouth pipe I've learned is called a sheng (I've seen a guy near the subway busking with a sheng, too). And then there was this huge zither-like stringed instrument you can see in the front of the video. There were actually two set of strings across two "necks" such that the instrument formed a huge Y or T shape.

Then, Monday night we went to see the famous Fire Dragon Dance near Victoria Park on Hong Kong Island. This outing was a bit of a disappointment, as Shannon reports, but it wasn't without at least one surprise. In the middle of this tradition-laden event, with Chinese drums and little girls dressed in classical outfits, comes a Chinese bagpipe corps. Yes, you read that correctly--bagpipes. Kilts included.

Hong Kong being a former British colony, this shouldn't be totally shocking, but it was still unexpected in this context. Certainly it says something interesting about how the native Hong Kongers view their colonial history.

1 comment:

  1. I never cease to be amazed at all the interesting sights and sounds you are experiencing. It is one thing to go on vacation but totally different to live there. So much more in depth.