Happy Chinese New Year!
My Dragon Year Begins
Last Wednesday night, I attended a Chinese New Year Celebration at the Schermerhorn Symphony Hall in Nashville that featured Chinese art, dancing, and music. It was a glorious event that has been many months in planning as a collaboration between the Nashville Symphony, API Middle Tennessee, the Chinese Arts Alliance of Nashville, and the Porch.
The place was decked out in vibrant red, and there was a full house in attendance.
Dancers and dragons leaped in celebration across the stage. It was a unique celebration of Chinese culture in a city that favors country music and honky tonk bars.
I loved every minute of it, and I hope they do more of it next year.
A highlight of the night for me was a performance by world-reknowned erhuist Ma Xiaohui. She is easily the world’s most famous player of this distinctive stringed instrument. She totally blew me away with the skill, virtuosity, and beauty of her erhu playing. Seriously, if you ever get a chance to see her perform live, do it. We were lucky to watch her being accompanied by the the world-class Nashville Symphony. It was a fantastic display of Asian excellence. (I was so enthralled that I forgot to get a photo of her on stage.) She received a resounding and well-deserved standing ovation after she played.
Here is a video of Xiaohui giving another exquisite performance at the Asian Pacific Screen Awards:
As if this Chinese New Year event could not get any better, we got to meet TN State Representatives Justin Jones and Gloria Johnson (who is running for senate against incumbent Marsha Blackburn) of the Tennessee Three. As a fellow Filipino, Jones gave me a great recommendation for a Filipino restaurant in Clarksville, TN, that I plan on checking out.
This was the best way to kick off the Chinese New Year! Special thanks to my dear husband MaxZine for talking me into going despite the insanely hectic and exhausting week we have had. (He bribed me with a sushi dinner, and I caved. It was all totally worth it though.)
Growing up in a Catholic Filipino family, we celebrated the new year the way everyone else did with the traditional 12-month calendar cycle that ends in December. No one ever told me that in a region very close to my motherland of the Philippines, millions of people celebrated the Chinese New Year.
In places like China, Vietnam, Singapore, and Malaysia, the lunar year is the template they follow, and it is based on the cycles of the moon. Saturday, February 10, 2024, is when the new lunar year begins, and massive celebrations all over the world will be taking place.
My Chinese zodiac sign happens to be a Fire Dragon, and this next lunar year is the year of the Wood Dragon. A dragon year feels like a good reset for me in my life.
A word that hovers prominently in my mind as this dragon year begins is distillation. In scientific terms, it is the process of purifying a substance through the evaporation and condensation of water. I want to distill the elements of my life into their purest forms and let go of the rest. This feels counterintuitive to the desire to accumulate wealth and fancy objects, and travel everywhere, but my intuition is telling me to distill.
For now, this means focusing on activities that give me joy and challenge me to learn something new that I find exciting and fun. Playing music, creating art and films, and performing are key components of this. It also means donating away any extra clothing, art, books, electronics, and numerous other objects that have cluttered my life. What I hope to have left is a purer form of the life I want to live.
This Chinese New Year, I will celebrate the Year of the Dragon quietly at home with some downtime, rest, and a good book, but the entire year will be full of intention, distillation, and joy.
Happy Chinese New Year!
May this Year of the Dragon bring you lots of love, fulfillment, and a big dose of everything that truly matters in your life.
PS: Many more of you have watched my Vampire music video, and I am deeply grateful.
I have put a TON of energy into this song and music video. It would mean the world to me if you can share it with friends and on social media. Here are links you can copy and paste:
Tidal Video: https://tidal.com/browse/video/338777907
You can hear my new song Vampire on every major streaming platform including Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube Music, and Tidal.
Give it a listen, share it, and add it to a playlist if you want. Search for Roqué Marcelo or visit any of the following links:
Other music sites where you can hear it include Anghami, MediaNet, Boomplay, Instagram/Facebook, Adaptr, Flo, iHeartRadio, Claro Música, iTunes, Joox, KKBox, Kuack Media, NetEase, Qobuz, Pandora, Saavn, Tencent, TikTok/TikTok Music/Resso/Luna, Yandex Music (beta).
A week ago, my Dear Husband and I flew to Florida to help DH’s mom move to a smaller assisted living apartment. Moving to a new place is always an enormous amount of work, and we only had a span of two days to make it all happen. Amid all of this activity, we were able to have a little time to ourselves. DH went on a long bicycle ride, and for my artist date, I went to the beach, which is where I always feel at home. The sand under my feet, the sound of waves crashing, and the heat of the sun on my skin were all rejuvenating. I needed every minute of it.
To listen to my music, watch my films, or see my visual art, please visit:
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