Vietnam a century ago was occupied by the French but still retained many of its former traditions.
The Dan Nguyet or “Moon Guitar” was a popular instrument played in Vietnam before guitars were introduced in the 20th century.
Moon guitars can still be seen today in Vietnam hanging on the back walls of antique stores like a memory of a distant time. Continue reading
Although Penang is an island just off to the north east of peninsular Malaysia it seems like a world apart. Unlike Malaysia’s capitol of Kuala Lumpur, there are many streets that have been left just as they were over a century ago.
Back then carts were pulled by strong men. Continue reading
Coming to Malaysia from Oregon was almost like entering a fairytale world of endless summer (95 degrees every day of the year!), palm trees, and exotic foods and products reflecting a multicultural and multi-ethnic people.
Hovering just above the equator in the South China Sea it has for centuries been a trading stop for many peoples of the region. In addition to the indigenous and Mayla people, there is a strong presence of Chinese and Indian Culture. Having been taken into the British Empire in the 18th century English is the common language spoken on the islands. Continue reading
I returned to Xi’an China for the second time this year and was received at the airport by the concert promoter Yilin Wang and our guitarist friend Adam Varjavandi.
There is nothing quite like being greeted with a bouquet of flowers (even though I had to fight to get into the picture).
John Doan is on tour in China after being so graciously welcomed at the airport. These are the first peeks of his first concert in Xian.
The debut concert was held at the Qujiang Theatre in the heart of Xi’an. It is a beautiful and intimate facility that soon filled with local people and those who attended at the invitation of my wonderful host Hongquan Wang and the Shaanxi Musicians Association.
I had written out my program and text that I would normally say in English so that it could be read in Chinese (as my Mandarin is currently limited to about 3 words). Yilin Wang excellently interpreted my text before each song (at least it sounded very authoritative). I am so use to speaking myself to audiences so as to provide them a bridge to my music so by not being able to speak I initially felt mute and somewhat awkward.
Everything changed once I hit the first note. I instantly realized that I actually was speaking to the audience directly by playing my music on the harp guitar. Even the notes sounded a bit Chinese as there was no more distance between us. They burst to applause after each piece. Some recording engineers in a sound room were talking to each other and didn’t know that they had a microphone on so my music drifted over some speech in the hall. Some people in the audience began to shout out to have them be quiet. I said “Shay Shay (Thank you”). Once they stopped talking I gave the audience a thumbs up and said “how” (good). “Hung how” (very good) and the audience erupted in applauds.
The host wanted to have a question and answer session just before starting the second half and many people called out. One man shouted, “Where do we get your recordings?” Another asked in Mandarin, “How is the harp guitar different than the guitar?” and so on.
After the concert the audience rushed the stage and wanted to have photos with me. Everyone waited for me to greet an important man in the arts community. Then it was another half hour of little children, teens, middle aged to elderly people coming up and posing with me the “Rock Star!”
I made many fans that evening but beyond all that I felt an implied “East meets West” turned into an evening among friends.
John Doan is on tour currently in China. The first news interviews are out.
美国音乐大师空降西安 将演奏20弦“神器”吉他 – 新闻频道 – 西部网（陕西新闻网）WWW.CNWEST.COM and 美国古典吉他大师约翰.多恩莅临西安 – 娱乐新闻 – 三秦网-权威主流媒体 陕西首选门户 – feature John and his harp guitar in interviews done as they arrived at the airport in China.
Here are translated and edited excerpts:
You may be familiar to the six string guitar, but have you seen a 20 string guitar? Called an “artifact” [historical instrument], the 20-string guitar is known as a harp guitar. It has almost the same range as a piano, but with only one person playing. Shaanxi Province musicians and fans are invited to a special recital by John Doan, harp guitar pioneer, international concert artist, and composer.
Reporters met up with John at the airport. He was very approachable, always smiling, saying thank you, a real gentleman who nominated for the US television industry’s highest award, an Emmy. The Washington Post says, “his playing is an exquisite union of the ancient and the contemporary, the austere and the sensual.”
John told reporters he came to China 24 years ago as a cultural ambassador and created a lot of music but felt his work was not complete. This time he hopes to find new inspiration, pieces of music turned into real movements. he has come to the ancient city to list to some wonderful music, too…he heard “Xi’an is the world’s most friendly people.”
The Musicians Association of Shaanxi Province will feature John Doan in concert on December 31, 2013 and January 5, 2014, in Xi’an Qujiang Concert Hall (VIP) in a special solo recital. On January 7 he will present academic lectures in Shaanxi Music and Arts School, and participating in organized exchanges in Xi’an University of Arts and Matilda House January 8, 2014. On January 10, 2014, John Doan and the founder of Shaanxi Ge “Thirteen Wolf” will be in Yisu theater performances side by side.
Via Google Translate