This July, on a college trip to the ethnic minority villages in Guizhou province, China, we (music students from Royal College of Music, London, and Shanghai Conservatory of Music) had the opportunity to interview a Xiaohuang Dong village elder Fu-ying Jia. That meeting was truly memorable. Elder Jia patiently introduced us to the various song types of the ‘Dong Grand Song’ genre, and also invited two village grannies to sing several of those songs — a live demonstration! In particular, I managed to transcribe two versions (different ‘settings’) of a certain ‘Owl Song’; one version was sung by the grannies, the other by Jia himself. The song, possibly composed by Jia, recounts a story: “[The songwriter] went up the hill one day and saw an owl on a tree hooting ‘doot, doot, doot’…”
In this piece, I recollect our meeting with elder Jia by remembering the two versions of his ‘Owl song’, allowing my memory of it to freely influence my shaping of new musical material, which emerges and flows around Jia’s song.
今年七月份（与伦敦皇家音乐学院及上海音乐学院的同学们）到访贵州小⻩村非遗文化传承人及 侗族老歌师贾福英，是贵州暑期实践之旅令我印象特别深刻的一次经历。贾爷爷耐心地讲解侗族 大歌的各种曲类，边讲还边与身边的两位奶奶们给我们现场演唱!其中有一首「猫头鹰歌」，据 我了解是有两个“版本”，一个由奶奶们唱，另一个由贾爷爷自己唱。歌大多应该贾爷爷编写的， 歌中叙述作歌人有一天上坡⻅到一只猫头鹰在树上“嘟… 嘟… 嘟…”叫不停。