Shanren in Orange City, IA

By Shigeyo Henriquez

Shanren spent last week in Orange City, Iowa performing in schools, coffee houses, at the University, and in the community library. It was a varied and fun week for the group just as we hope it was for the community.

Shanren road manager Shigeyo Henriquez took a number of photos that give you a feel for the week.

Li Guohua’s culture includes playing music on leaves found where he lives. It’s been a challenge finding just the right kind of leaf in the middle of a Midwestern winter, but he managed to do so and has shared this unique instrument in workshops and at the public concert. Here he works with a young Orange City man who succeeded in getting some sound from a leaf.

Student playing a leaf as an instrument

Most Midwestern restaurants—even those that cook Chinese food—don’t cook food the way it’s prepared in Yunnan Province. The guys in Shanren are great sports about adjusting their diets, but that doesn’t mean they don’t really miss a good Yunnanese meal, so they jumped at the chance to use Janine Calsbeek’s home (she’s our Orange City host) to cook a splendid meal for themselves and other guests. Left to right is Sam, Li, Ou. Fu Te, Yabo and Janine.

Shanren’s workshops are lively and informative and nearly all include Left Foot Dance of the Yi. Here, students celebrate with Fu Te as they have defeated the evil dragon as part of the dance. It’s fun for everyone!

Here’s Li at the public concert in Orange City with an array of traditional instruments from his culture.

Yabo and Ou, also shown here at the public concert, are the original founding members of Shanren.

Here’s Fu Te and the Orange City concert. It seems he can make a musical instrument out of nearly anything. He plays wind, string, and percussion instruments and also whistles and adds vocals of all kinds.