Ruth and I perform as the LaoWise, which is a pun on the Chinese word for foreigner, “Lao Wai”. Of course the Chinese do not add an “s” to pluralized a word, “Lao” means old or venerable. So we’re assuming that LaoWise means “venerable and wise”.
Anyway, to get to the point, we performed once again this year at the combination Robbie Burns Day/Chinese New Year celebration, our third such performance. This is always great wacky fun, with haggis won tons and a lion sword dance. We did a three Chinese song set before inviting my young friend Kipling, eight years old, on stage to play a Scots jig with me on the violin. As a finale we were joined on stage by an accordionist from China, a young pipa player, and a singer who joined Ruth in singing Auld Lange Syne in Chinese and English while I played the erhu.
A couple of weeks later we did a performance at Aspen Grove school, at the invitation of the music teacher who provided these photographs and testimonial.
Laowise is a performance/education experience I would recommend to anybody. Ruth and Zale really know how to put on an entertaining show for kids while also giving a real sense of what life is like for children in China. Their many years of experience living there learning the language from scratch, like children, makes them a valuable resource. Their upbeat songs and audience participation style keep kids engaged. I especially liked their use of traditional Chinese instruments to accompany themselves and provide atmosphere. If you engage them for your next cultural event at school or even a birthday party, you won’t be sorry!
– Cathryn Gunn, Music Teacher, Aspen Grove School, Nanaimo
More recently we did a forty minute set for the Retired Provincial Employees Association. We talked about our experiences in China, reading Chinese characters, how Chinese children learn language, all with Chinese songs and stories.
I don’t think we’ll ever hit prime time as performers, but we do get a great reaction to the shows we put on, and are often invited back. This was our second time for the Retired Provincial Employees Association.