A classic China community music day packed full of new sights, people, foods, music and songs. Hosted by CiCi and her project here trying to preserve the old part of the city and it's heritage it is certainly the first time 'community arts' has come into this city of 8 million people!
Picked up at 8am we go to a traditional breakfast place for congee, rice rolls and 'cake'. Amazing.
We are working in the old Shan Yu Mansion - outside in quite chilly air with 14 people who have come with curiosity. What an amazing setting. Good set of instruments and as people arrive I begin to focus my mind by translating a kids welcome song into Mandarin with Rebecca.
The morning goes very well and 2 new songs are written - one about the sky above our open courtyard and the other the start of a lyric about the traditions and aspects of our community that we like and want to sustain.
At lunchtime we walk to a tasty cheap vegetarian buffet place across the river before wandering around this lovely old style district with covered walkways and old style shops selling funeral paper and temple incense, bamboos hats/baskets, dried fruit and sweets and more. This is the area under threat from development.
The afternoon follows the same theme of giving people the experience of community music and also talking about our relationship to our community and how we could use some of the material and ideas in future work. There is a great moment of made up street calls - selling mangos, lichees and many things that I have no idea what they mean!
The reflection at the end of the day is powerful with great questions and thoughts from this very mixed group of therapists, social workers, teachers, volunteers and office workers.
And the day finishes with 2 beers in a bar district that has developed in an old style area full of drinking and eating places with live music all piled up on top of each other with levels and lights and sound. Very surreal and a good fun way to finish this long day.