COUNTRY MUSIC TRANSLATES WELL TO CHINESE
To the Editor:
In May, my band and I were invited to perform in China. Covering 23,000 miles, the tour ranged from giant outdoor concerts in Shenyang and Dalian and beautiful concert halls like Beijing’s Forbidden City Concert Hall and Nanjing’s Cultural Arts Center, to You Fu Castle, a large dance club in Xiamen, as well as an intimate acoustic performance in Guiyang.
Our group is led by Local 802 member Mary Lamont (who is also my wife), and, besides myself, is made up of Frank Patterson, Cosmo LoCricchio and Tom Murphy, all 802 members.
The tour had a profound impact on all of us. Mary learned a song in Chinese, and when she sang it, the audience sang along in amazement and delight. Mary’s original songs were also very well received. We were interviewed on China’s national TV stations as well as satellite networks.
We performed for many Chinese dignitaries, including Wen Shizhen, who is the leader of the Liaoning Province, and Vice-Governor Zhao Xinliang. We also played for the Chinese ambassador to the United Nations and Russian and Japanese consulate officials. The fact that we play country music made us feel as if we were cultural ambassadors, representing the roots of American music to the Chinese people. Every visit by Americans makes an impression and we hope that, over the next six years, other American visitors make efforts to build relationships so that our athletes get the best welcome possible at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. We felt like we made lasting friendships across cultural boundaries, since we were invited back to perform.
It’s gratifying to see people halfway round the world appreciate music that must sound foreign and unfamiliar to them. Sometimes the spirit and intention with which a band plays can speak straight to the heart of others.
For some photographs from our tour to China, visit www.marylamont.com.