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roddy

Tea Horse Chinese folk music blog

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roddy

Tea Horse sell guitar straps made from traditional textiles. That's not important now, unless you want to buy a guitar strap made from traditional textiles. In which case, you're welcome. 

 

They also happen to be based in Dali and run a blog featuring folk musicians. It's worth keeping an eye on. Posts aren't frequent, but they're good. Try the Soundcloud recording by Zhou Chao or go Mongolian with Ajinai

 

I know the guy who runs Tea Horse (he's actually a 2008 CSC alumni of this site, if I remember correctly) but I'd have posted this anyway, promise. 

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Luxi

This is very nice, thanks Roddy for bringing this to our attention, and of course thanks to jawshoowa for this collection of gems. 

 

I've really enjoyed meeting the Jinuo (first time I'd heard of them) and listening to their (and Shanren's) hybrid music - a very catchy tune and a very nice mini-documentary! 

 

That left me very intrigued, jawshoowa, so thank you very much for including the story behind Tea Horse in your blog, what an incredibly wonderful work you're doing.Thank you for it. It made my day.

 

Did it all really start because you needed some posh straps for your guitar?

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jawshoowa

Thanks for your enthusiastic response, Luxi!

 

You pretty much nailed it. When traveling in Guizhou in 2009 I fell in love with embroidered textiles (mostly Miao), and brought some back to Beijing to liven up my dorm room at BNU. I was playing a lot of ukulele at the time, and I bought one piece expressly for the purpose of making a strap. But I am also very lazy, so the strap never got made.

 

---skipping over a number of years of smog inhalation and honing language skills in Beijing---

 

In 2012 I was playing guitar for the Randy Abel Stable in Beijing, and I had purchased a fine vintage guitar, a 1976 Mossman Great Plains. The guitar was a hand-crafted beauty, and it felt strange to bring it on stage with a cheap nylon guitar strap. So, that is when I finally got around to making a guitar strap from the Miao textiles I had bought way back in 2009. The strap was the envy of all my bandmates, and always drew compliments, so I figured it might be a good business idea. It made sense to me. Musicians prize hand-crafted instruments, and they are proud of their musical heritage. Why not sell them a guitar strap that represents hand-crafted heritage as well?

 

To be perfectly honest, however, I keep the business side on the back-burner. For the time being, the focus is on building a platform for communicating the beauty of ethnic minority culture, because this is where my passion lies. The products will be up there, and we do have some sales, but I think it is good to power your business from your passion. What I am really pushing for is to get responses from folks like you who appreciate the culture, the music, and the message, so thanks for your feedback!

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Angelina

What you are doing is pretty cool.

加油!

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roddy

Good to see you're still going! And also that your beard, like mine, is turning such a lovely shade of silver. 

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jawshoowa

We've got a new post up on the Tea Horse blog!

 

This is part 1 of an interview with Sam Debell, percussionist for Shanren 山人乐队, one of China's best known and loved folk-rock bands. Most of the band hails from China's SW, but as a Brit, Sam makes an interesting exception. Despite his laowai status, Sam's nearly 20 years of expat living and playing on the Chinese music scene, make him an authority on the development of Chinese folk rock and world music. Hope you all enjoy the interview!

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jawshoowa

There was a fantastic festival earlier this month in Kunming: The Yuansheng Indigenous Music and Dance Festival. It was a rare opportunity to see a vast range of authentic music and dance from the most remote parts of Yunnan Province. And for the most part it was quite different than the highly commercial song and dance shows you normally see around Yunnan.

 

Those interested to know more can read this review I wrote for the Global Times: http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1023445.shtml

 

In the coming months and weeks I will be sharing video from the festival on the Tea Horse blog.

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