Fernleaf Hedge Bamboo in the Moonlight: the Tropical Romance
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.
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
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′):