I taught Chinese song to flamenco artist

In the spring of 1998, Li Ruihuan, President of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, was about to visit Spain. The press officer of the embassy, Zhao, came to me: " Ms. Li, can you do me a favor? We are preparing to welcome a delegation and are working on the schedule. There is a flamenco performance and the singer needs to sing a Chinese song in Chinese, can you go and teach Mr. Sandoval." I agreed with pleasure.

The first time I saw Michel María Sandoval was in their theater. He was tall and straight, with long legs, and a black broad-brimmed tweed hat on his proud head. With a well-groomed short beard. Speaking in a loud voice. As a talented singer, he could sing songs of various countries in English, French, German, Russian, Italian, Dutch and Spanish. I thought it would be easy for him to learn Chinese pronunciation, so I greeted him and started the lesson.

"White clouds float in the blue sky, and horses run under the white clouds. Waving the whip to all directions, a hundred birds fly along." He learned the song quickly, but couldn't remember the lyrics. After I translated the lyrics into Spanish, he sang along with the words and imitated them very well. He also understood the context of the song, which helped him to remember the lyrics. It was a good collaboration and this first lesson was over.

The second lesson was in a park. I showed him the song in numbered musical notation that I had taken down during the lesson preparation, but he couldn't understand it, so I had to teach him the lyrics in Pinyin instead. Then we taught him to sing one line at a time, repeating it over and over again. Luckily, he was able to hum it and had a melodic sense.

Getting closer to the day of the delegation's arrival. So I went again to a Spanish pianist I knew well to transcribe the pentatonic score of the song. The third time was to go to his house and practice singing the song at the piano. He was already able to play the song down, and my hanging heart was relieved. The lyrics and memorizing the lyrics became the key, which all depends on his effort.

Mr. Sandoval is also an outstanding performer, who performs the best flamenco dances with his wife.

In flamenco dance, the male dance movements are very complex and difficult. With head held high, shoulders on the side, forward and backward, rotating and jumping high, the number of movements is dazzling. The frequency of kicking and stomping, cross-legged transformation is extremely fast, and the rhythm of the clattering sound of the dancing boots with iron palms hitting the ground is resounding, bright and fast, and very impactful. Along with the melody of the music, the male performers' spirited dance is the most impressive to the audience.

I taught him a few Mongolian dance horse riding moves, leaping on the horse, waving the whip, bending over the horse and galloping forward. He learned it in no time, and the rhythm was so good that he was waiting to improvise during his official performance. I finished the job given to me by the embassy. I went back to the Xinhua branch and waited in comfort.

The delegation led by Li Ruihuan had a successful visit to Spain. At the farewell dinner, members of the Chinese delegation were seated in the front row right in the middle. The accompanying staff was arranged on both sides. The show officially began.

The finale was Maria Sandoval. Mr. Sandoval sang the Chinese song "The Sun Rises on the Pasture" in Chinese, and the song rang through the hall, with clear words, clear spelling, strong rhythm, and the dance steps of horseback riding, a fierce Chinese Mongolian horseman, singing and dancing on the stage.

There was thunderous applause, my teaching was a success, and I felt a sense of pride in my heart. I believe that this Chinese song will be spread forever. The simple lyrics and beautiful melody will always be on the stage of Madrid, Spain. The friendship between Chinese and Spanish people will last forever!

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May 09, 2023

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