Published on February 23rd, 2014 | by Tanuki0
Cute Chinese Girl Blows at Super Mario Bros.!
Have you ever seen an instrument that looks like this? At first, I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, but the more I stared, the more the shapes began to merge into a form that looks like a melding of Superman’s crystal console with hints of Sauron’s tower (Barad-dûr) from LOTR. Objectively speaking, the cluster of slender black pipes of varied length and shiny metallic keys comprise the base of what is known as a sheng: a free-reed wind instrument originating in China over three-thousand years ago! If this is your first time laying eyes on a sheng, what are your initial thoughts of it?
Today, we have quite a very cool rendition of the Super Mario Bros. theme song played by Li Jin Li. She’s done a fine job and I’d love to hear more of her playing, but unfortunately, I couldn’t find any more footage of her. Perhaps this video will go viral and requests to hear/see her with be just on the horizon.
UPDATE: Another sheng video of Li Jin Li has surfaced on Youtube. This time, she is accompanied by an orchestra, performing a rather emotional piece. Quite lovely!
The first thing you’ll notice are the awesome sounds the sheng produces, allowing the musician to play harmony and melody on the fly. Li Jin Li is essentially able to manipulate the array of keys with both hands in order to achieve this effect. If I were to shut my eyes and listen, I would swear the music was actually emanating from a 16-bit console (like SNES or Genesis). What are you waiting for? Go check out the video and hear for yourself
You know, if not for the nostalgic context of the video and it’s pop-culture appeal (e.g., old-school gaming), I don’t know if I ever would have come across the sheng elsewhere. It’s bittersweet in a sense. Additionally, what is mind-blowing is that we have access to all kinds of media and information via the internet to learn about other cultures. I know that sounds very cliché and obvious, but it becomes too easy to take these things for granted nowadays.