Lis­ten­ing to Ku­lang­su (Ting Gu­langyu 听鼓浪屿)

My first in­tro­duc­tion to Ku­lang­su was “Gu­langyu Zhi Bo,” played by Jing. I had heard it at least fifty times be­fore I ever saw Ku­lang­su, and be­fore I even knew this was orig­i­nal­ly a song with words. It was my fa­vorite song on Jing’s CD, which I played ob­ses­sive­ly in my car when she was away in the first month af­ter we met, but be­fore I first vis­it­ed her hometown.

When I fi­nal­ly ar­rived on Ku­lang­su, its mag­ic was some­thing even greater than could be con­veyed by mu­sic. The first thing I no­ticed was the civ­i­liza­tion of trees. They are vil­lage el­ders here. If you were an old tree, there must be nowhere in the world where you would live a bet­ter life than on Ku­lang­su. In most of the de­vel­oped world, trees are de­mol­ished to make way for high­ways and sky­scrap­ers. Here, trees are ex­alt­ed. The co­conut palms are asked to pose for pic­tures with hun­dreds of hap­py cou­ples each day, and the banyan trees re­ward their neigh­bors’ re­spect with the dai­ly gift of shade.

Af­ter the ty­phoon hit Xi­a­men and Ku­lang­su in Sep­tem­ber 2016, just be­fore the UN­ESCO in­spec­tor was due to vis­it the is­land for con­sid­er­a­tion as a UN­ESCO World Cul­tur­al Her­itage Site, the is­landers worked day and night to res­cue the fall­en trees and plant new ones.

When the is­landers make im­prove­ments, they seek not to im­press with flash, but sim­ply to shine new light on the nat­ur­al and ar­chi­tec­tur­al beau­ty that is al­ready every­where. And nowhere is it more every­where than on Ku­lang­su, the mu­si­cal is­land, where ba­bies still fall asleep to the sounds of crick­ets, chil­dren still walk to school, and grownups still play CDs.

——Robin Gold­stein, 2016

我对鼓浪屿的第一印象,是这位中提琴家演奏的

《鼓浪屿之波》。这首曲子我听了不下 50 遍,之前,

我甚至不知道这首曲子是有歌词的。

这是杨璟的 CD 里我最喜欢的曲子。

我们认识后,她不在我身边的第一个月时间里,

我经常重复地听这首曲子,

之后,我才第一次来到了她的家乡——鼓浪屿。

当我第一次登上鼓浪屿,

这种感受比音乐传递给我的更加强烈。

我最先注意到的是岛上的树文化。

树是这里的长者。如果你是一棵树,

那么你在鼓浪屿一定过着全世界最舒适的生活。

在大多数发达国家,树木被砍伐,

被做成高速公路和摩天大楼。

但是,在鼓浪屿,树是神圣的。

椰树是每天上百对恋人拍婚纱照的背景

榕树荫下是居民纳凉的好去处。

在 9 月中旬,台风正面袭击了厦门及鼓浪屿岛后,

岛屿上的人们日以继日地进行灾后重建工作,

抢救倒下的大树并重新种植。当鼓浪屿人想要做出改进,

他们不是简单的用新的替代旧的,

而是在原有的自然景观和建筑美景的基础上进行改良。

在鼓浪屿,这个音乐之岛,到处都是美,

世界上没有任何一个地方和它一样:

婴儿依然在蟋蟀声中入眠,小朋友依然走路上学,

大人们依然听着CD。

——乐宾写于2016