The depth and variety of Chinese food available in Beijing simply astounds me. I know what you’re thinking, uh… Yeah Matt, China = Chinese food! But think about your local choice of American food dining. Here’s mine: Wendy’s, Burger king, McDonald’s, Arby’s, Denny’s, pizza, various cafés and small diners. This translates to: burgers, fries, pizza, as well as sandwiches and soup all sort of rotating between chicken and beef varieties and maybe seafood if you’re lucky. Now don’t get me wrong, I love all of that stuff, I’m just finding that in Chinese cuisine nearly every animal in the animal kingdom is fair game. I’ve already found restaurants that serve: duck, rabbit, turtle, donkey, lamb, snake and the list goes on. Not only is the list of protein extensive, but also the parts of the animal used. Were talking whole dishes using: feet, tripe, intestines, knuckles, internal organs, brain, tongue, the things that you have a hard time finding in an average American city. I Feel that american food however comforting, is so limited in some areas. Needless to say as an amateur “bizarre foods” lover I’m pretty excited for my trip. I leave today! Next time I blog I’ll be in the Middle Kingdom!
I’ve been searching the last few days on www.dianping.com (not the entire day, just parts) for the local and regional cuisines offered in Beijing. I’ve found quite a bit in the area that I’ll be staying! In the Wudaokou area of Beijing there are a couple universities; and the one thing that university students want more than ….to do well in their classes…..is food. Quick. Cheap. Good. And there is no shortage in the area. And apparently no shortage of friends to share it with. Many people from IU are planning to be in Beijing so I’ll have lots of company, not to mention classmates in Chinese class. Things are looking up for an exciting time in B-town (not Bloomington).
Drone music is one of the oldest musical styles alive and has been used in traditional folk music, classical music, rock and new-age music as well. There is an element to drone music that makes it calming and primal, simple yet complex. When the music starts the melody deviates from the sustaining note and when it finishes it returns to the original note. Nearly every country has some sort of drone tradition: the Australian Didgeridoo, Japanese Gagaku music, Vietnamese Jaw Harps, the Chinese Hulusi, Indian Shruti music, Baltic and Nordic bowed lyres and the various bagpipe traditions found all over the Middle East and Europe. Drone music. keep it happening.
It never really occurred to me that the banjo was a drone instrument but listen for the sustained high note.
Bulgarian music is so interesting to me. It can be very complex or very simple depending on the region, occasion, or preference of the musician. It employs rhythms not commonly found in western music called “asymmetric meters” that make sometimes hard to follow without training your ear to hear it! Also, I love the calming nature of drone music….which i might have to do another blog on. These three videos give you a good idea of what it sounds like, yet they only scratch the surface of the vast world of Bulgarian music! Enjoy!
Here is a brief overview of some basic instruments:
An impromptu jam session with typical folk instruments:
And a taste of some popular wedding music/special occasion music:
For the last few months I’ve been fascinated with songs that have little to no accompaniment to their words. Whether it be for praise, pleasure, pain, the passing down of stories or to make manual labor less burdensome the human voice is a powerful tool. Its simplicity and universal nature make it almost more moving than if sung with accompaniment.
This is Sacred Harp Singing. Its roots are in the American rural South and is unaccompanied congregational singing. I pretty much wish that this was the way we sang at church. haha
This is a ballad by Dillard Chandler about a battle for a woman.