Puppets danced and lively stories of rural life in remote China drew the audience’s attention to places and sounds rarely heard in the west on Friday, March 2, in the Oscar A. Kirkham Auditorium.
Audience members poured into the auditorium in anticipation.
Wu Man slowly walked onto the stage, and the room was silent as the audience waited for the first note.
“I am excited to hear a musician that’s not from America to play different types of music,” said Sarah Huber, a freshman studying sociology.
As Wu Man performed, the crowd cheered and applauded to each note.
“I have a lot of guests here to help out, and I am very excited to introduce the Shadow Puppet Band from China and show you the ‘wow’ of Chinese rock ‘n’ roll music,” Wu Man said to the crowd after a song.
The Huayin Shadow Puppet Band played the yueqin, banhu, erhu, lute, fiddle and a variety of percussion instruments including clappers, gongs, cymbals and even a wood bench.
“It was incredible how they made good music by banging on a bench and making all sorts of sounds with all their instruments,” said Bryant Chavez, a freshman studying biology. “I was really amazed by the whole performance, and it was incredible.”
The show was filled with Chinese culture, as each instrument involved in the show has a history in China.
“The frame around the puppet screen has a beautiful pattern, and it came from the traditions of their families,” Wu Man said. “It is an honor to bring your family traditions from home as you can share them with others.”
“Shiyang Jing,” a solo performed by Wu Man, was a highlight of the night, said Anna Bulatova, a freshman studying music education composite.
“During her solos, I could imagine the picture like I was drawing the story in my head,” Bulatova said. “I loved the Chinese culture and I really enjoyed the concert.”
Each song presented a story inspired from the culture of China. As two puppet soldiers went to war amongst one another, a drum played to the soldiers’ heartbeats.
“I just loved how articulate Man was with her skills. When she played the pipa it was so amazing to watch,” said Austin Schembri, a senior studying chemistry. “I am also a guitarist and a musician of sorts, and being able to see what she can do and how smooth she transitions is amazing.”
The closing song for Wu Man was, “The General’s Orders Stir the Mountains and Rivers.” Inspired by another martial song, this inspires the troop’s preparations for battle. The song was played by the pipa and capped off an end to the night. The crowd stood on their feet and applauded as Wu Man and the Huayin Shadow Puppet Band bowed before the crowd.
“Enjoy and be open-minded to knowing other cultures, and just be happy and take it in,” Wu Man said.