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Feature: Fall in love with Chinese instrument hulusi flute

WELLINGTON, Sept. 26 (Xinhua) -- David Stringer is a star in the Chinese community in New Zealand's South Island, due to his great mastery of traditional Chinese musical instrument hulusi flute.

Last weekend, Stringer impressed the audience again with a beautiful interpretation of the Chinese folk music "Deep in the Bamboo Forest" using hulusi at the annual Moon Festival Gala Concert organized by the Chinese community in Christchurch.

Although it is easy to play hulusi at a basic level, "'Deep in the Bamboo Forest' involves lots of techniques, which is a Grade 6 exam piece," said Stringer, who preferred to be called Qin Dawei, a Chinese name he really adores.

"Deep in the Bamboo Forest" depicts the early spring sunshine flooding the earth and the lilting sound of music wafting from the deep bamboo forest, Stringer told Xinhua after his solo performance.

Hulusi, also known as the cucurbit flute and the gourd flute, is a free reed wind instrument originated from China. It has in recent years been adopted by European composers and performers.

Stringer's hulusi performance was among the more than 20 music and dance programs at the evening gala to celebrate the annual occasion of love and family reunion on the Chinese lunar calendar, the Mid-Autumn Festival, which falls on Friday this year.

Stringer said he first saw hulusi ten years ago on his first trip to China in Zhangjiajie in central China's Hunan province. While expressing his curiosity on the musical instrument, he was given one by a friend who also taught him the basics of playing hulusi.

The next year, Stringer went to China again and bought another C Major hulusi in Changsha and a B-Flat one in the city of Yueyang. Currently, he has a total of five hulusi of different tune types.

"From young, I was introduced to the Chinese culture. More recently, I have been learning Chinese and made many friends in the Chinese community in Christchurch. Like New Zealanders, I find them friendly and encouraging," Stringer said.

With the increase in immigration, the Chinese culture has played a bigger part in the New Zealand community, especially the Chinese New Year, the Lantern Festival and the Mid-Autumn Festival, which are "enriching our own culture," he said.

There is a hulusi group in Christchurch, and Stringer was encouraged to join it and has performed with them many times.

"Same as the choir, I found the friendships formed good for me and for my language learning. I think we all benefit," he said.

"I have been privileged to make friends with many Chinese people, learn from and perform with them. It brings us together, Qian Li Gong Chan Juan," he added.

The Mid-Autumn Festival is called the Harvest Festival in the West, Stringer said, adding that in China it also falls at almost the same time as the National Day, making it even more important to the Chinese people.