Friday, February 27, 2009

Xinjiang Trip - Part 1

I don't think I did the trip to Xinjiang justice with the one paragraph and the blurry picture I posted the day we got back. In fact, I specifically said I would elaborate more on the trip in the near future. So to make up for my poor journalism I'm going to start a little series about the trip. I have tons of pictures, a few movies, and lots of stories to go along with them.

The following clip is one I filmed in Bole, Xinjiang. It's a small city right near the Kazakh border, about an hour away. In fact two of our hosts (piano player Larry's sister and brother in law) worked as customs agents at the border.* While in Bole we were put up in the government hotel that is specifically used to house the customs officials.

The clip is filmed in a small hole-in-the-wall restaurant that serves great Mongolian food- smoked horse intestines, lamb, candied potatoes, the usual fare. A few ethnic Mongols that were friends of our hosts joined us for dinner and performed folk dance and music right at our table. You'll also see the singer giving a ritual toast to Larry at the end of the song.

UPDATE: I mistakenly thought this song was originally Uyghur, a prominent ethnic group in Xinjiang, hence the title of the video. The confusion comes from the beginning of the video when the man sitting next to me exclaims that the song is Uyghur. Upon further research I have come to the conclusion that this song is of Kazakh origin yet the language is Mandarin Chinese. Thanks to loyal reader, longtime friend, and annoying nitpick Alex (of the I Want In blog) for pointing my mistake. The song is called: "可爱的一朵玫瑰花" which I think best translates to "A Lovely Rose."

*Funny story the brother in law told us: One ordinary day two Kazakh nationals decided to put on an elaborate cow costume and mingle with the herd to cross the border. They made it across without any problem- not one guard suspected a thing. A large bull however noticed the apparently attractive "Kazakh cow" and became so interested that it mounted them. The two fell over, their costume ripped apart, and the Chinese officials caught them.


Alex W said...

why is this "uyghur folk song" being sung in Mandarin? One of my Beijing buddies says her Beijing born and bred parents sing this song all the time.
ps - i'm a hard-ass

Josh Katz said...

listen to the guy in the beginning.. he says this is wei wer zu. i trust him!

Emily said...

Wow I envy you! 新疆 is so beautiful, I dream of going there someday. Right now I am in 东北 helping set up a site for learning standard Chinese - . It is very difficult work but rewarding I think. Hope you are enjoying China ~ thank you for the music! Doesn't Mandarin sound like Jazz sometimes !?!