13 March 2009

Words and Music: Xi Chuan and, later, Ken Nordine

Just in time for Friday the 13th, Anthony Tao posts this video of poet Xi Chuan and musician Bruce Gremo performing at the Beijing Bookworm International Literary Festival.

The Tao notes on his Heart of Beijing blog:

The instrument Gremo is playing is called the celia and is apparently the only of its kind in existence in the world. I believe it.

Xi Chuan had his Chinese poems translated into English, which he read with slight difficulty. He paused during one poem to ask Bruce how to pronounce "infinitum," which he pronounced as "in-finy-i-tum." He also had a weird way of pronouncing "mosquito" as "moss-guy-to," but we understood. The mispronunciations actually enhanced the overall esthetic effect, I thought. They were going after a certain mood characterized by unfamiliarity and otherworldliness, and I think it was better that the poet read read in an alien tongue...

I agree.

And this led me to think of Ken Nordine, who managed to make this out of Edward Lear:

A happy Friday the 13th to one and all.

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