Thinking Chinese: The Chinese Er Hu during WWI (8 May 2015)

Thinking Chinese: The Chinese Er Hu during WWI (8 May 2015)

Colins1The Chinese Er Hu during WWI

Friday 8th May 2015, 7pm, UCL South Cloisters, Gower Street

Ming-Ai (London) Institute and UCL China Centre for Health and Humanity presented an evening of Erhu performance and discussion with Dr Colin Huehns as part of the Thinking Chinese series.

Probably the earliest surviving footage of an instrument from the Chinese erhu family in performance comes from troops of the Chinese Labour Corps celebrating Chinese New Year on the Western Front during the First World War.Colins3

At the event Dr Colin Huehns introduced several pieces of footage from the archives of the Imperial War Museum and Canadian army showing the Chinese Labour Corps in France. He discussed the history of the Erhu, the Chinese two-stringed violin and then performed a number of haunting pieces on various Erhu instruments. Many songs and poems were performed within the Thinking Chinese Exhibition space in the South Cloisters and all were all centred around the theme of homesickness, highlighting the emotions and experiences Chinese workers in WWI would have felt thousands of miles away from their homelands on the Western Front.

Dr Colin Huehns, Royal Academy of Music: Colin is a lecturer, composer and performer on some thirty different European and Asian stringed instruments.