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Fernleaf Hedge Bamboo in the Moonlight: the Tropical Romance

Jul 16, 2009


something special: Hulusi duet by two American girls

In the video above, the two girls playing hulusi duet are sisters from California, USA. Meilin and Sulin Gray’s mother is a Chinese. When Meilin was 13, she made a bold decision herself to come to China and learn Chinese and Chinese culture.

Grown up an active Californian girl, Meilin is gifted in performance art. She can sing both English and Chinese songs; she can play both western and Chinese instruments; she can sing both Peking opera and Shaoxing opera … Overall, she is now a shining star in China by successfully combining western and Chinese culture.

Fernleaf hedge bamboo in the moonlight: the Tropical Romance

In 1978, a group of three people from Tianjin Opera House visited Dehong (Yunnan) for inspiration. Songwriter Poet Ni Weide saw that local Dai ethnic young men and girls like to date in the fernleaf hedge bamboo woods in the moonlight, singing love songs with soothing hulusi music.

Fernleaf hedge bamboo in the moonlight: the Tropical Romance

Fernleaf hedge bamboo in the moonlight: the Tropical Romance from: {link:http://gb.cri.cn/3601/2005/09/03/882@685514.htm}cri.cn{/link}

Inspired by the romantic scene, the poet immediately wrote the lyrics as “Fernleaf hedge bamboo in the moonlight”. Back to Tianjin, the famous “People’s Composer” Shi Guang-Nan compose the music for the lyrics. Soon, this music became popular all around China and abroad, as the example of southwestern ethnic music.

Hulusi: an ethnic musical instrument with pure soothing sound

The hulusi or cucurbit flute is a free reed wind instrument from China. It is held vertically and has three bamboo pipes which pass through a gourd wind chest; the center pipe has finger holes and the outer two are typically drone pipes. — wikipedia

Hulusi - An Ethnic Instrument

Hulusi - an ethnic musical instrument. from: {link:http://www.cnzhudi.com/}cnzhudi.com{/link}

It is not uncommon for a hulusi to have only one drone pipe while the second outer pipe is merely ornamental. The drone pipe has a finger hole, which allows it to be stopped. Advanced configurations have keyed finger holes similar to a clarinet or oboe, which can greatly extend the range of the hulusi to several octaves.

The hulusi was originally used primarily in the Yunnan province by the Dai and other non-Han ethnic groups but is now played throughout China. Like the related free reed pipe called bawu, the hulusi has a very pure, clarinet-like sound.

A full version (4:40′) with beautiful images featuring Dai-style peacock dance

Here is a “longer” (maybe the complete) version (5:39′):

[Chinese Keywords]
民乐 月光下的凤尾竹

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  1. Violetlily11
    July 16th, 2009 at 12:29 | #1

    I love this song!! Do you know if there is sheet music or instructions on how to play it on the hulusi?

  2. July 16th, 2009 at 13:59 | #2

    @Violetlily11
    Hi, a nice sheet is here in numbered musical notation:

    http://www.52hulusi.com/news/pic/2005715164030.jpg

    Note: the Chinese words after 1=C3/4 means: cover all (holes) as 5(.)

  3. July 17th, 2009 at 00:47 | #3

    this music is beautiful!!!
    thank you for sharing with us

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