An American Abroad

The Musicians in Nie Er Park

Yuxi has generally stayed out of the way of history since its founding in 960 AD. No famous battles were fought here. Yuxi has never been a vital commercial or political city. One of its claims to fame, though, is that it is the home of the ancestors (though not the actual birthplace) of Nie Er, the composer of the national anthem of the People’s Republic of China, “March of the Volunteers.” There are a number of parks, streets, and memorials to him here. One of then, Nie Er Park, is right around the corner from my apartment. As befits a greenspace named after a musician, the park attracts many traditional Chinese musicians every day of the week, but especially on Saturday mornings. I spent a few hours there this morning.
2013-07-05 21.39.33
2013-07-05 21.45.46
2013-07-05 21.47.51
2013-07-05 21.49.55-2
2013-07-05 21.51.40
2013-07-05 21.52.12
2013-07-05 21.52.34
2013-07-05 22.13.44-1
2013-07-05 22.18.25

The most interesting performers here were a 25-piece string orchestra with a vocalist. Considering that all these musicians are amateurs just out to play for the joy of it, I was impressed that they could actually get that many people together at one time. Unfortunately, the orchestra played in the round, which made getting a shot of the whole group frustrating, so I tended to focus on the individual musicians.
2013-07-05 22.02.15
2013-07-05 22.02.40
2013-07-05 22.05.27
2013-07-05 22.05.16
2013-07-05 22.03.50
2013-07-05 22.03.33
2013-07-05 22.02.57
All the musicians in the park today were at least middle-aged, and most were older. This doesn’t seem so different to me than the situation in other cultures, where traditional musical forms are preserved by the older generation but ignored by the young.


  1. Michele Hannon says:

    What beautiful instruments!

  2. Toni Burger says:

    No one smiling? Seems sad.
    Hope all is well Jim!

    • James Trumm says:

      Toni, I noticed that too, but I think that what you are seeing is concentration, not sadness. They are reading music and, in many cases, playing with other musicians. If you look at members of a symphony orchestra when they play, they are seldom grinning from ear to ear. And when they finished a number, they seemed relaxed, friendly, and in good humor.

  3. Cathie Kelly says:

    How incredible! If I were a collector, I would absolutely purchase some of those amazingly beautiful musical instruments. Truly works of art! Thank you for these close up photos Jim. They made me smile and I kept scrolling back and forth. Be well! Be happy!

    Best! Cathie

  4. Paul Burkhardt says:

    Cool! In the immortal words of Steely Dan, “Angular banjos sound good to me…” 🙂

  5. Just catching up with your adventures. You are learning that camera quickly, and have quite an eye for the different that is beautiful. Jenn says hello and agrees completely. We miss you! Nick says hi, too.

  6. Your pictures are beautiful! You captured a scene I will likely never see in my life, though I am always interested in how other people and cultures think and live. So thank you for sharing!
    (Your next task, Grasshopper, is to take a phone video, upload it to YouTube, and share it right here on your blog!) 🙂

  7. Fascinating instruments – it would be great to actually hear them! Such fun sharing in your experiences vicariously – nice combination of excellent pictures and comments.

  8. Julie Fruchtman says:

    what we need now is sound! thank you for sharing your experiences with us.

Speak Your Mind