Monday, July 23, 2007

Blog 9: Back to Beijing (and the home stretch)

Two things left for me to record here. First, I'm re-connecting with Joy, our former guide and translator (and professional singer). She's coming up to my hotel room where I've set up an impromptu studio to record her vocal parts for the Survivor Theme. She's singing all the parts, the translated Russian circle dance AND the ancient Chinese folk song I'm using.

Later...Joy is such a pro! We covered everything in under an hour.

That night...Denis and Erik dragged me with them to the "Lake District" with all it's bright lights, tea houses and "lady bars". I'm anxious to see them get into trouble! ...but it's Friday, and apparently, Friday night is date night and no trouble at all! Funny. So we sit down to a night pot of tea and watch the street musicians play and the young couples sway. Lovely images for my last night in China.

Saturday - Last day-
Whew - We covered a lot of territory, criss-crossing China and Chinese culture. There's so much more here than I could ever have hoped to capture in ten days, let alone ten weeks. I'm exhausted, but there's two things left that I promised myself I'd do. One is to record the giant drums in the Beijing Drum Tower. The other is to race Erik in a peddal rikshaw! Drum tower first -

We pull up to this amazing building in the heart of the city and climb the longest single stairway I've ever seen. (Climbed a lot of stairs in China!). It's straight up, no turns and extremely steep.
Vertigo! At the top, we have this glorious view of the city from the downward sloping balcony. VERTIGO!!! But inside, there's these HUGE drums, maybe twenty of them. We wait for the performance to begin, the drummers mount their positions...and totally wimp out! I was hoping for BING BANG BOOM and the played pit, pat, puh. Sooo, I waited for everyone to leave, turned on my trusty Korg MR1000 recorder, went up to the drum (next to the "Do Not Play Drums" sign) and banged on that drum the way it was meant to be played!!! (Typical American)...and then ran like hell!

Civil disobedience ...

I guess that put me in the American spirit, because next we hired the pedal rikshaw to take us next to Tienanmen square to pick up a few "waving Mau" watches for my friends back home. I traded places with the peddler and got a good workout on this bicycle made for three (and a lot of gawks from the ever present crowd). Later, switching places with the motorcycle cab driver was even more fun... especially when the hotel guard tried to prevent me from entering the gates on the motorcycle and I feigned "no brakes" as he tried to jump in front to block me. Now, THAT was fun!

They got their revenge on me finally as on the way to the airport for my flight home, I sensed the oncoming rumble in my stomach that I really managed to avoid...until now.


CameronBoman said...

Hey Russ-

I have a quick question for you. I am doing a paper for my ethnomusicology class on your music during survivor china. What instruments are used during the ancient voices? and what are the lyrics mean for ancient voices?

thanks so much! looking forward to hearing back from you!


CameronBoman said...

its sorry for the incovience