Asian Music, Accompanied by the A Train

In China, traditional musicians face the two-fold threat of florescent pop music and a gradual drying of government funding, both of which have led to a decrease in demand for their craft. "While most pop music groups take in extra income by playing at clubs and parties," writes Yilu Zhao, "some traditional music ensembles… sit idle for months on end." As a result, many traditional Chinese musicians have migrated to New York City, where they confront cultural and linguistic barriers in an effort to make ends meet. To appeal to New York subway-goers, many have adapted American songs to their Chinese instruments. The money they earn from passersby doesn't amount to much, but it's more than they might earn in China. Hopefully, says one sheng player, with some luck and hard work "maybe Americans can see the true appeal of Chinese music, and I can make my way to the grand concert halls in New York." – YaleGlobal

Asian Music, Accompanied by the A Train

Yilu Zhao
Tuesday, July 6, 2004

Click here for the original article on The New York Times website.

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

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