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Band members can't see, but they hear very well

By Yang Jun in Guiyang | chinadaily.com.cn| Updated: 2020-10-10 Print

A group of dreamers has set up the first music band for the blind in Guiyang, Guizhou province. Visual impairments do not stop them from pursuing their passion for music.

After graduating from Guizhou Forerunner College, which includes an institute where visually impaired young adults study massage therapy, band leader Chen Changhai, who has vision problems, was looking for a job. While working in a massage parlor, he often played music at night.

Chen and a classmate, Yang Zhi, also visually impaired, would get together on the street to keep music in their lives.

In 2018, Chen organized a five-member band composed of other visually challenged music lovers. All of them had day jobs doing massage or delivery work. At night, they gathered in a massage shop in the Guanshui Road, Nanming district in Guiyang to rehearse their favorite songs.

They called themselves the "Zhe'ergen band" which originates from a Chinese herbal plant whose roots grow in dark soil, but comprise the most essential part of the plant.

Band members said they are not dependent on people who can see. They work hard for their music dreams and are willing to take root in the earth — like the zhe'ergen — to store energy for future life. While living in a world of darkness, music and hope fill their lives.

The band plans to record its first album, Playing Marbles, after two more weeks of practice. They said music is a kind of mental healing therapy for blind people.

Wang Jin contributed to this story.

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