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Guiyang man's love of music secret to long life

By Shi Zihan ( chinadaily.com.cn )

Updated: 2016-04-26

The Beatles famously sang, "Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I'm 64?"

For Wang Chunying, the age of 64 for was more than a decade ago and he is still going strong at 78, in a way the likes of rock 'n' roll gods The Beatles would be thoroughly proud.

Guiyang resident Wang has a passion for music, and despite his long years still tours China in musical groups and bands with members a quarter of his age.

Scattered about Wang's home are such a collection of instruments you'd think an entire orchestra was living with him. There are dulcimers (a flat stringed instrument), erhu (a two-stringed bowed instrument), zhongruan (a traditional Chinese four-stringed lute), drum sets and harmonicas of various types, and each, he says, he plays every day.

As a young man, Wang used to work in a musical instrument factory in Guiyang, capital of Guizhou province. There he learned to how make drum sets, which first sparked his interest in rhythms and music. In his early twenties, Wang learned to play the dulcimer from a professor of art at Guizhou University and became somewhat of a local celebrity with his exquisite skills. In part due to his talents on the dulcimer, over the years he taught himself how to play many other instruments.

Today, Wang is still often invited to drum in local bands. "After years of playing dulcimer, I have a good sense of rhythm, and I also know how to coordinate with other band members. So I can play the drums even better than some young men," Wang said proudly. Keeping up with the young ones on tour and on the road had never been a problem for Wang, who has travelled to many cities and put on performances energetically and passionately for many years.

However, four years ago, Wang became seriously ill after touring with his band and was required to stay in hospital. He dealt with the ordeal in typical musical fashion, coping with the long and boring days by playing his many instruments and entertaining his fellow patients. His music not only benefited his own recovery, but also that of his bed mates in hospital.

Thankfully, Wang is back on the mend and back in tune. Never smoking, drinking, nor playing Mahjong, Wang said he feels at peace playing his instruments every day. According to Wang, "Doing the things you love is the key to living a young and happy life".

And remember, like The Beatles said, "All you need is love".

Guiyang man's love of music secret to long life

Wang Chunying, 78, practices playing the drums at home. [Photo/epaper.gywb.cn]

Edited by Owen Fishwick

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