What Is Music
And I went back to China, and I’m looking for something, the roots, the musical roots.1 I went to the countryside. I went to old small villages, remote area, and to listen to very typical folk music in different regions. In that film documentary, I visited the first time with a bunch of musicologists from China, and just to do a field trip, field work basically just to listen, because there are so many underground festivals as well in those villages.2 And yeah, the first experience was a shock again. So, like first time I hear Western music, it’s same thing. I was shocked. I never heard that kind of music, and so different from urban music, so different from my sort of concert music. As a musician, I’m really touched by their music, they’re honest, those people.3
And second time I said I have to go by myself, I have to film that. So, I did a couple of trips, spent many times in there, and experienced — well, in the film I filmed one — it’s a shadow puppet family, sort of a family band. They’re 12 generations, all play shadow puppets, and of course along with the rich music, they’re singing, they play instruments, the percussion and they also play the shadow puppets, telling story. They travel from village to village, family to family to celebrate weddings, funerals, all kinds of things happen in the village, so part of their life. And there’s another group which is a Taoist Ying Yang Band and, yeah, so very different, no female in their band. I tried to play with them, they said, “No, you can’t.” It’s kind of religion format, so they have to wear their costumes, their hats, very colorful. It’s outdoors, it’s both outdoor, so to me, the shadow puppet is like a gypsy group, so yeah, that experience tells me there’s no one answer of what is music.