Saturday, May 30, 2009

Rockin' At The Czech Embassy

Qian Jun is a professor in the English department at Peking University. He studies the Prague School. (No, I have no idea what that is, either!) Because of this research interest, Jun is acquainted with the Czech ambassador to China, and sometimes gets invited to events at the embassy.

The other night, the embassy hosted a kind of garden party, in celebration (I think!) of the Czech Republic holding the presidency of the European Union this year. Able to bring a few guests along, Jun invited me and one of the kids. That way, both he and his son, Andi, would have company at the event.

So Z and I headed across town, not really knowing what to expect. Turns out, it was a concert out on the back lawn, with a complete selection of food and drinks, from a whole roast lamb to tasty little desserts.

As for the music, it was not at all what we were expecting. Imagine the E Street band with central European characteristics. The singer and guitar player was dressed in a black t-shirt, black jeans, and black shoes. At one point, he even had his guitar slung over his back, just like you-know-who.

And what about those Czech characteristics? The other singer played not a guitar (sorry, Miami Steve!) but a violin. And there was a cello-like instrument in the mix, which added a kind of gypsy, folk aspect to the overarching rock sound. As a Hungarian, it was kind of like the Csardas meets Born to Run.

Two Americans, listening to Czech music, in Beijing...Not an ordinary kind of evening, to say the least!



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