Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Leica File: The Jinghu Players Of Chinatown

Photo © Tewfic El-Sawy-All Rights Reserved

Photo © Tewfic El-Sawy-All Rights Reserved

I"m happy to report that the kerfuffle pitting the NYPD against the senior citizens of Columbus Park in Chinatown seems to have been resolved. As you may have read in an earlier post, the NYPD disbanded the amateur Chinese opera bands that played at the park for years, and were filmed apparently using unnecessary force to do so.

But never underestimate the resilience of the Chinese...the cacophonous opera singers and their loyal musicians were back in force and in full form yesterday ...however minus their portable amplifiers. Amps and microphones violated the New York City Noise Control Code, and the NYPD swung into action. However, not only were the musicians back, but I've never seen so many chess, mah jong and card players despite the faint drizzle.

The musicians use a panoply of Chinese traditional musical instruments, such as the yangqin, a sort of dulcimer with a near-squared soundboard, and played with two bamboo sticks, as well as the jinghu, a small two string fiddle, a circular bodied plucked lute called the yueqin and the recognizable gu and ban, a drum and clapper.

As you can tell, I used a 1.4 aperture in those two photographs. I'm currently enamored with extreme shallow depth of field!

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