Even while I feel that music can break down barriers, I have never felt prouder or more aware of being an American than when singing these songs in China. And I know that I never could have figured out how to express what was in me without these talented Chinese musicians prodding me. To me, this is the very essence of globalization. The real potential for cross-cultural communication and understanding lies in many small moments of interaction rather than in anything large, state run or commercial. And so it is that the same vehicle that has put me so in touch with what it means to me to be an American has also granted me so much insight into China.
One of the most moving parts of the trip was returning to Hunan with Lu Wei, our drummer. A native of the province, he hasn't been home for eight years. He is a third-generation drummer and his father told him when he left for Beijing not to come back until he was a big success. The fact he has not returned despite growing acclaim in Beijing and being an endorser of two large European drum companies made me think they were estranged, but it is not the case.
When we landed in Changsha, Lu Wei immediately called home: "Father, I am in Hunan!" Even though his hometown is on the other side of the province, about a 10-hour drive away, and he had never been to Changsha, Lu Wei was beaming our entire visit, reveling in the soulful, spicy food and walking around with extra pep in his step. He also played like a man on fire. I had urged him to have his father come see the shows, but it didn't happen and over a bowl of noodles he said they both thought the moment would be too intense.
My Chinese bandmates are thrilled at the prospect of performing in the U.S.; only Woodie has been there, and he visited only Los Angeles. And I think the more Americans who can see China as a place with real, regular people, the better. After three plus years here, I am still shocked by how people misunderstand the country, with many Americans still seeming to hold one of two diametrically opposed stereotypes: China is a raging dragon about to gobble us up; China is a land of peasants riding bikes in Mao jackets. I'll be happy if my band can come to the USA and dispel some of this misinformation for even a handful of people.
viernes, abril 17, 2009
Un linda historia sobre música y globalización a través de una banda mitad china y mitad estadounidense: