We were invited to play at our local Taiwan night market celebration last month. We had two performances that day, playing four songs each time. There were about 4,000 visitors in 5 hours for the event.
Our family band “Tu & Only” (杜ㄧ無二）performed three times this month for various Chinese New Year festivities. To get a glimpse of my DD’s (12 and 15) current colloquial fluency and accent, at least on a scripted level, you can listen to their introductory remarks at the beginning of the first video. They do speak Chinese at home with each other about 80% of the time, at least when I am around. When they say things incorrectly in Chinese or don’t know how to say certain things in Chinese, I do my best to correct them and then ask them to repeat it a few times. Since I left Taiwan after fifth grade, not infrequently do I have to look up things I don’t know how to express in Chinese as well. We then learn to say it together. These are normal part of our lives and the girls don’t get mad at me for doing so.
I learned to play the bass guitar (very badly though) a year ago so that I can play along with the girls. Then, I got busy at work and haven’t practiced much. A few months ago, I decided to learn to play the drum (also very badly….) and let DD#2 play some of the bass. I learn just enough to get by.
We performed four songs at a Chinese New Year celebration in Atlanta this past Sunday. There was a crowd of probably 250-300 people with standing room only. Here is their introductory remark and first song, 朋友 (Friends) by 周華健. (I missed a few notes. Sigh…..)
The next video is DD#2 singing 楊培安‘s 「我相信」 (I Believe).
Our third song was better recorded from an evening church performance the day before. It is 流星, the Chinese version of “Yellow” by Coldplay, one of the theme songs in the movie “Crazy Rich Asian” last summer.
The last song is the classic CNY song 恭喜恭喜 by 陳歌辛. You can listen to their closing remarks at the end of the video.
Our band is getting better with each performance over the past year, though we still need to squeeze in vocal lessons in the future. A major local Chinese school troupe just asked us to collaborate with them in the future! Not bad for the end of our first year! Our family band has certainly brought the family even closer and has given us more things to talk about, in Chinese of course!
Happy Chinese New Year!!
I was invited to give a presentation this weekend on heritage children in the US learning Chinese at a Southeast region Taiwanese American summer retreat in Georgia. Our band was also invited to play a few songs late afternoon. It was a great opportunity for every one of us to sharpen our public speaking and Chinese linguistic skill.
Our family band 「杜ㄧ無二」 performed four songs at the early evening music program: 周杰倫的「甜甜的」, 蘇慧倫的「檸檬樹」, 梁靜茹的「小手拉大手」, 四葉草的「好想你」. Here are short clips for two of the songs.
I will share details of my talk in time, after I have a chance to put it together in appropriate format.
At the mean time, below are two videos I showed at the presentation as well, the first one highlighting aspects of my family’s Chinese Language Ecosystem and the second one highlighting the Chinese proficiency of a few children whose parents are in my FB group [Raising Bilingual Children in Chinese & English], co-administered by Virginia Duan, including one ten-years-old girl who is of third generation and half-ethnic Chinese heritage. I hope you find their accomplishment as inspiring as I do.
I never thought a few years back that we will get to listen to live Chinese pop band right at home! It’s out of this world! The three of us try to practice some every night this summer. I just bought a recording audio interface and ask DD#1 to record a short piece for me to try it out.
How cool is this, as part of our CLE (Chinese Language Ecosystem)?!
So, we continue to provide the girls with opportunities to use their Chinese for volunteering and performances. Last Saturday, almost 15 year old DD#1 “Charlotte” volunteered as a check-in person for the “Minced Pork Rice” 滷肉飯 cook off near Atlanta. A good percentage of the folks spoke Chinese checking in. Charlotte also got to meet many second generation young professionals 10-15 years her senior. Her co-volunteer here is a Malaysian American professional. She had so much fun, but too many cups of milk tea!
As for me, I tasted no fewer than nine to ten styles of minced pork rice and I was stuffed!!
As for our band, my girls received a gig invite to play at a dinner banquet after a local golf tournament event this past Sunday. In trying to come up with a Chinese band name, DD#2 “Georgia” proclaimed that we are “獨一無二“, as in unique. Charlotte and I immediately looked at each other and she shouted out “杜ㄧ無二”, replacing the first character of the expression with our last name, which has the fourth tone instead of the second tone. So, there you have it, the name of our family band!
For our performance, Charlotte played and sang 周華健‘s 「朋友 」again, as that was the song requested by the organizer. It is simply a classic song suitable for most gathering. It was very well received.
Then, Georgia performed Malaysian singer 四葉草’s 「好想你」. However, this was the biggest sound stage that we have performed in so far and, given our band newbie status without any coach, we weren’t ready for the fact that the sound we heard was reverberated, delayed, and distorted reflections bouncing from the rear wall of the venue. When we were doing our initial sound set-up, we kept telling the AV guy to turn off the echo effect to no effect. So, that was what was happening. So, without stage monitor speakers directed toward Georgia, she couldn’t hear the sound correctly and was singing off tune. After a few tries, we couldn’t get it right. So, Charlotte and I performed Ben E King’s “Stand By Me” instead and that went very well.
So, here is the video of our performance, with Georgia’s rehearsal video as the replacement for her part. All the practices that went into it, including Georgia’s intro, are fantastic in consolidating their Chinese, both in terms of their proficiency and psychic.
Lastly, summer is coming up! I have been invited to speak at a southeast regional Taiwanese American summer gathering on, what else, raising English-Chinese bilingual children in the US! I will be asking members of my FB group to provide me pictures and videos of what they have been able to accomplish to include in the talk!! Guess what, I am going to let my girls do part of the presentation, ’cause they are the presentation!