Sounds of China

Sounds of China


Dragon Boat Festival in Guangzhou, China

Dragon Boat Festival is loud, violent, and colorful.  It is a festival with nearly 2000 years of history, in honor of poet Qu Yuan (340-278 BC).  Team after team rows down the river, powering pencil-thin, decorative canoes with intricate dragons carved into the bow and stern.  As they row, the teams chant, beat drums, and set off deafening firecrackers.  Crowds, and even a musician or two, gather along the river to watch the boats as they float by.


HuangPu Ancient Port in Guangzhou, China

Guangzhou was a vastly important nexus of the Ancient Maritime Silk Road. HuangPu Port played a key role as a bustling port in the region, beginning in the Song Dynasty (960~1279AD).  Today it no longer serves as a key trading center, but the architecture and village’s seclusion remain beautifully preserved.  Taken from across the river from HuangPu Port at dusk, this recording captures the constant hum of a village now dedicated to local fishing, construction, and – during the day – tourism.  José and I were there and had his clarinet, so at the very end, you’ll hear a little addition he added to the soundscape.