Chinese bluegrass video

This is a fine example of "Chinese bluegrass" performed by Mei Han's Red Chamber 紅庭 with John Reischman and the Jaybirds. The instruments include an iluqin, mandolin, bass, pipa, guitar, sanxian, banjo, and ruan. The song is "Katy Hill." (via @mgorbis!)


  1. is this what the secretary of state HRC meant when she said the US and China working together can start fixing the world’s economic crisis? jk Either way Chinese bluegrass is awesome. I hope some folks in Kentucky ‘have the internet’ so they can watch this. Maybe soon we’ll see some Shakespearean Kabuki? oh joy!

  2. Love traditional Chinese music. The interesting thing is the pipa is almost exclusively played by women. The erhu, a two stringed bowed instrument, is more often played by men.

    While traditional music is difficult for Westerners to enjoy, don’t underestimate the capabilities of these instruments.

    Check this out.

  3. Abigail Washburn is wonderful, especially her work with Uncle Earl & Reyna Gellert. She’s a nice person as well as a fine musician, too.

  4. Having studied Acupuncture in the bluegrass hills of western North Carolina, I can kinda see where this is comin from… Nice!

  5. That was surprisingly delightful! The Chinese instruments seemed like cheap crap to me (meaning poorly made), but the musicians did a great job. A washboard and jug and they’re in business! The Dukes of Hong Kong, anyone?

  6. This was great, but it got me wondering if there had been anyone playing dueling sanxians (ala The Deliverance) along the Yellow river before the big dam was put in service….

  7. @TroofSeeker
    You’re probably not used to the sound of Chinese string instruments. Compared to their Western counterparts, the Chinese instruments have a much smaller “sound box.” The sound box provides resonance and harmonics to the notes played, and with a smaller one, the Chinese instruments sound shriller and not as rich.

  8. That was badass. I remember being a kid raised around bluegrass music and hearing talk about Chinese bluegrass bands (this would have been in the 1980’s). Apparently the music is quite popular in certain Chinese circles. Seeing the two genres of instruments playing together here was rewarding. :)

  9. MARK AND PESCO – you absolutely have to see this!

    I was looking for an Uncle Earl gig to post in the electric mountain old time apple thread and I found this nearly indescribably weird gem.

    I swear, this is going to be the sole topic of conversation the next time I see Reyna Gellert.

Comments are closed.