Bei Bei at Union Station Friday, Aug. 7: she’s talented, gorgeous and plays the Chinese zither

And what’s a Chinese zither, a.k.a. guzheng, you ask? It’s pretty much a guitar on steroids! Okay, maybe a guitar on steroids is a bit of a stretch. After all, the guzheng doesn’t look anything like a guitar. It only has 18 to 21 strings and moveable bridges and needs four to eight plectra (picks) to play. But it’s definitely a very impressive instrument, and if you’re a nerd about traditional Asian instruments like I am, you’re going to be very excited about this upcoming event at Union Station.

Super talented guzheng expert Bei Bei will be performing in Union Station’s waiting room from 4 to 6 p.m. on Friday, August 7. If you’re not sure what guzheng music sounds like — you’ve probably heard it before, but just not known what it was called — here’s Bei Bei performing one of my favorite concertos:

[youtube //www.youtube.com/watch?v=zWUWCddcQTY]

Of course, I don’t expect Bei Bei to only play traditional Chinese opera. She’s also covered various pop, jazz and rock styles. (And if you want a sample of how a similar instrument, the koto, can be incorporated into modern music, I’m going to reveal my J-rock geekery and have you listen to Kagrra,.)

So join me on Friday and let’s be music nerds together! Get to Union Station via a bus, train, bike or foot. The performance is free and open to all.

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