Wumu and other adventures – 山慕

Naxi women, old and young.

Naxi women, old and young.

So much has happened! I’ve had very little time for internetting, and even less time and patience for uploading images and sound on this fabulous yet slow connection.

So here are some snippets.


Jimmy and I messing around one day drinking afternoon, who would have thought Banjo and Erhu went so well together? They both provide a certain ‘twang’, I think… There are more recordings, never fear!

Jimmy and Crystal

Crystal and Lizzy and Jen arrived, and Naima’s back from Hong Kong, Frog’s giant dodecahedron arrived, and we are all in solid planning mode for our concert this Saturday. Saturday! That’s less than a week…

One thing that happened is that a gang of us went up to Wumu, a small Naxi village in the mountains. I think it’s safe to say that it was a life changing weekend. I chased a dragon through a mountainous village, met many pigs, had my embroidery critiqued and was taught a few important lessons about tying off, I watched a goat sacrifice and subsequent skinning, disemboweling and beheading, I am currently uploading a huge pile of photos that will go in another post. The photos above are all from Wumu. There are many more to come!

A timelapse of the Wumu dragon coming up the hill after visiting one of the 4 water sources, asking for rain. Sound is from the ritual on the mountain the next day. (I’ll make a better quality one! Just trying to get stuff online at this point…)

We did a concert on our final night there, of mostly improvised music. After we’d finished playing, we asked if anyone else wanted to perform, and people just started standing up and singing songs. Naxi songs, songs from school, recitations. It was quite amazing. Here is our final improv for the night, based off the Naxi song that I’ve been playing with. It’s slightly out of my range, but it’s also the first time I’ve sung and played bass together in public. So I was happy with the experiment. It’s Crystal Pascucci on Cello, Jen Torrence on found percussion (didn’t come up very high in the mix on my zoom) and me on bass and voice. It’s a live improvisation, recorded on the fly with a suitably rowdy audience. I hope it sums up some of the spirit of the evening. I’ll try to cut together some of the other performances to show you later.

DODECAHEDRON DODECAHEDRONFrog’s dodecahedron arrived, much to everyone’s delight. I immediately tried to see if my bass fit inside. Which it did, much to everyone’s delight.

The current plan is to tie the bass up into the orb once it’s installed, and hang percussion instruments and have a group percussive improvisation, using the bass as a percussion instrument.

Right after I took the bass out, Grandfather walked up and said “Shan Mu! Put the bass inside it!” Which was amazing, and a testament to all the weird stuff that has happened here over the last 10 years.

He loves the water.


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