When I visited China in the past, relationships always felt superficial; There was no time when I felt those moments of conflict and delight that make you feel close to another person. But since I started touring there in 2004, I always collaborated with local musicians, and that opened a new level of intimacy.
I feel that my type of music is a big pot of different spices. It is a soup with all kinds of ingredients.
China was the first time I really felt like a stranger. I fell in love with the process of trying to intimidate with culture.
For most Americans, my Chinese music feels like a novelty, and it is not what it is for me.
I believe in music because it has the power of change.
Yes I die Geographically, that’s it.
I feel that the only idea that is extremely comforting to me about the world is that we all share the same set of emotions from which we drew.
I really believe in the power of music.
I live in a new colony for the Chinese singing banjo player, with a population of one. At least I have something to do with my life.
I would say that I have always experienced creativity, but now I do it with an intention that has a completely different power.
I would still describe China as a vast and invigorating puzzle that will never make sense to my Western education.
I’m, I guess you could say, the Chinese-speaking girl and banjo-picking.
I’ve realized that the more I open, the more I learn.
My parents played the radio, but music was never an obsession or something I thought I could call a career.
One thing I’ve been doing all my life, especially my grandparents in Chicago, was a huge idealism for the world.
In China, I realized that if you visit quite often and learn the language, you will be assimilated, but you will still be at a distance; You will always be seen as a foreigner.
Somehow, my most comfortable feeling has been to be a stranger who enters, but over the years I have tired of that and I am ready to feel at home. That’s what music offers me: a feeling of absolute home.
All my motivation is to make sure that music is a common space where we look for beauty and share it. It has to be louder than any conversation. That’s where we have to go as a human race.
Martin Luther King’s speech “I have a dream” always sends me down a path, a trajectory of some creative idea.
I sang in a reggae band. And then there was a soul band where I sang supporting voices and some lead. And I was also in a group of a cappella women. And I was in the gospel choir at school. Actually, I’ve always been in choirs. Or some kind of group. Only because I love singing so much. But honestly, I never thought of it as a career.
I played the piano and was always in the choir. I tried to play the flute because all the pretty girls played the flute.
I have spent so much time moving all my life, and I have become accustomed to being the Other in situations: the foreigner, the stranger. The first time I felt there was no separation between me and the other elements was in the music.
One of my favorite albums in the world is ‘Nebraska’ by Bruce Springsteen. Each song has a very different character that has something profound to say.
I was born in Evanston, Illinois. I spent my elementary school years and part of my high school in a suburb of D.C. And then I spent my high school years in Minnesota. And then I spent my college years in Colorado. And then I spent some time living in China. And then I spent three years in Vermont before moving to Nashville.
When I started playing the banjo and miraculously I got a record contract in Nashville, TN, there was a period when I did not go to China. It hurt. Like a pain in my guts … that pain you feel when you know it’s time to connect with your parents or your God or your child or your past or your future … and you do not.
When I was a child, I went to peace and WAS on the back of my mother and my grandmother. Through them I learned that I wanted to find a way to make the world a more kind and compassionate place.
‘Halo’, I wrote with my grandfather in his nursing home. When I went to visit him, he used to comment on my halo. But of course, I could not see. And he always had pictures of Jesus with these beautiful halos. Then I asked him if he would write me a song about the halo of Jesus.
In some way, in the USA. UU We do not know how to be. I think in many ways the United States is about liberation and about change and progressive human relationships. And because of that, I feel we are confused about who we are supposed to be and what is supposed to satisfy us and make us feel fulfilled.
Outside your door, the world is waiting. Within your heart, a voice is calling. The four corners of the world are watching. So travel, daughter, travel. Go find him, girl.
I tried to play the flute because all the pretty girls played the flute.
For most Americans, my Chinese music feels like a novelty and is not what it is for me,
Is it an original idea? Or is it something that you are literally a creative collagist? You are taking pieces of the world that you see around you and that are inside of you and the joints in the way that suits you best.
Hogslop is the true rook band of yesteryear groovilicious honkin. Marvelous wonder of yesteryear with these guys!
You can enjoy many different types of music. I think that is something that Americans should think about more.
You have to try things that really fear you, even if you pee a little.
I believe in the old, because it shows us where we come from, where our souls have come from. And I believe in the new, because it gives us the opportunity to create what we are becoming.
I see music as a complete refuge. It is a universal home, a common common ground between all; it comes from a place that has no nation or boundaries around it.
I had no intention of becoming a performer and yet, under miraculous circumstances, I was introduced to the music industry. If the divine powers had not intervened, I would still be living in China working in some area of Chinese-American comparative law.
I have a general sense of mission, and I intuitively know when something is influencing that mission. I think this is what I’m supposed to do. The doors keep opening. In the end, it is the best use of my skills. I finally accepted the idea that I am an artist.
I spent all my twenties feeling very distressed about trying to make a difference. I wanted to establish a touring circuit that would revolutionize the way subculture music was received in China. But now I am older and I do not have the firm conviction to have a different mission. There is a lot at stake in this world, and I know I am a tool of some kind.
I am not an ethnomusicologist. There is a connection between the scale of five notes used in both traditional Chinese music and blues, but I really do not understand it. All I know is that every time I play with Chinese musicians, we seem to belong to the same set of musical genes.