Expats in Fujian: Xiamen strikes a chord with expats
An island of art and music
On the morning of Nov 17, foreign press corps took a cruise ship and arrived at Gulangyu Island in Siming district of Xiamen.
Gulangyu Island is renowned as "the island of piano" and "the hometown of music" for it is home to China's first Piano Museum and China's only and the world's largest organ museum.
Some foreign journalists record music with their phones. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]
They visited the Gulangyu Organ Arts Center, the first international cultural exchanges platform on the Chinese mainland that combines the research of antique pipe organs, performances, education and restoration of historic organs, and listened attentively to a grand symphony produced by a century-old Casavant Opus 700 pipe organ, the largest one of its kind in Asia.
The symphony finishes with a flourish. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]
Music is an integral part of the island residents' life.
Lei Yongping is one of the many music lovers on the island and people often call him "Uncle Lei". Twelve years ago, Uncle Lei and his wife, Aunt Ye, formed the "Hawaii Electric Guitar Band", which is composed of retired residents whose average age is more than 60. Though they are not professional musicians, they often gather together to play and rehearse out of their love for music.
Foreign press corps enjoy the family concert held by "Hawaii Electric Guitar Band" on Gulangyu Island. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]
"I see them playing music and I want to play too. I really love Xiamen because it is beautiful and people are very good," said Abdoulaye Diedhiou from Senegal, who later joined the band and played drums. "And this music for me, is the best expression to say 'thank you, wonderful people of Xiamen'."
Abdoulaye Diedhiou (R1) from Senegal joins the band to play music. [Photo provided to chinadaily]
On the same day, the group was also invited to watch a glove puppet show, a provincial intangible cultural heritage item and a representative art form unique to Minnan (southern Fujian) area, and roundly applauded the performance, especially when performers unveiled their finger skills under the gloves after the show.
Foreign press corps watch the glove puppet show in Gulangyu Island, Xiamen. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]
"I haven't seen a puppet show before and they were really well done. I really like when the performance ended, they showed us how to do this with their finger skills," said Velia Govaere from Costa Rica.
A puppet show performer shows the audience how he manipulates the puppet with his skillful fingers. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]
On the morning of Nov 18, the foreign press corps left Xiamen for Nanping, another city in Fujian province, to continue their trip.