North American Guqin Association

NAGA August 12, 2006

Lake Chabot Boat Ride and Yaji Report

On Saturday August 12th the North American Guqin Association experienced one of its best yajis ever. We started at 2:00pm, taking our musical expertise and enthusiasm out onto Lake Chabot in a chartered boat from which our music and songs floated across the water. A 17 person dinner followed, and we closed the day with a highly entertaining yaji at the Union City Library at 11:00pm. A very full and fun qin day. Michael Cohen and Kai K. Chung's photos of the event can be viewed at:

Event summary

Each NAGA outing has a different theme. That of the last yaji at the Hayward Japanese Gardens was ※消夏游园,以琴会友§ (touring gardens in the summer, making friends through playing the qin), which you can read about by clicking here. The theme of this yaji was 携琴会知音,观湖揽日落 (playing the qin with close friends, and touring the lake). Just before we boarded our boat the swallows that nest under the eaves of a building at the dock circled around us. As we motored out into the open water we passed a flotilla of Canada geese. Cormorants kept diving or taking flight throughout our journey. A strong breeze rippled the water. We stopped the boat in the middle of the lake so we had scenic views all around us. We began by singing Zhi Yin, the theme song from a recent Chinese movie, twice, accompanied first by zhonghu and then by qin and xiao. We then sang other songs, including the qin songs He Chong Xiao and Chang Xiang Si. Wang Fei explained how the descriptions of green waters, blue skies, mountain scenery, and qin melody in a couple of the songs fitted perfectly the mood that we were recreating. Kwan Wong, Jiang Wenyu, and Fred Pohlmann all took turns playing the qin and Professor Wang Yongan and Kwan Wong also provided xiao accompaniment to certain songs. Yang Guan San Die, the quintessential piece about parting, fittingly closed the set before a hasty overdue return to the dock. We spent about an hour walking the trails of the park before heading for a group dinner at which Dr. Eileen Moy, Prof. Kai Chu, and Wang Long Sheng joined us.


Our regular yaji commenced at the Union City Library with the playing of an original piece by visiting qin player Jim Binkley, who flies over from Portland once a year attend our yajis. Jim played a piece he had composed himself, then shared some of the research that Professor Chen Changlin has been working on in recreating the original tuning of Zhuang Zhou Meng Die. Jim played both the contemporary tuning and the old style tuning of the first section and asked us to compare the two. His passion in qin matters and dedication to the qin arts was apparent throughout the evening. Wang Fei played You Lan, a piece at the highest level of the qin repertoire. She explained that the oldest known qin score is one for this song and that it contains some of the oldest known fingering. She also related the story of how Confucius, after much disappointment over the rejection of his ideas by the leaders of many kingdoms, went into the mountains for solace. While there he came upon an orchid. He likened the orchid to the qualities of an emancipated self. Pat Wong, Weiran Zhao, and Kwan Wong and Jiang Wenyu also played. The audience enjoyed Fred Pohlmann's singing of the Chinese lyrics to Qiu Feng Ci while he played the qin, and his poetry recitations added a literary dimension to the evening. An abundance of xiao talent, thanks to Professor Wang Yongan, Kwan Wong, and Eliot Greenleaf, and the eager participation of the audience in singing made for another magical yaji that was very much a collective effort.

Please see the complete program listing below.


On the boat

1.     Zhiyin Monique on zhonghu, everybody else singing

2.     Zhiyin Kuan on guqin, Professor Wang Yongan on xiao, everybody else singing

3.     He Chongxiao Wenyu on guqin. Professor Wang Yongan on xiao, everybody else singing

4.     Chang Xiangsi Wenyu on guqin, Professor Wang Yongan on xiao, everybody else singing

5.     Yang Guan San Die Fred on guqin, Professor Wang Yongan on xiao, everybody else singing

At the Union City Library

1.      Qing Shan Ye Yu (青山夜雨) Blue Mountain Evening Rain (original composition by Jim Binkley) 每 Jim Binkley on guqin

2.      You Lan Wang Fei on guqin

3.      Yu Qiao Wen Da 每 Kwan Wong on guqin

4.      Ao Ai 每 Pat Wong on guqin

5.      Guan Shan YueWeiran Zhao on guqin, Kwan Wong singing

6.      Xiang Jiang Yuan 每 Jiang Wenyu on guqin

7.      He Chong Xiao 每 Fred Pohlmann on guqin, Eliot Greenleaf on xiao, Jiang Wenyu singing

8.      Zhuang Zhou Meng Die 每 Jim Binkley on guqin

9.      Hujia Shiba Pai 每 Wang Fei on guqin, Fred Pohlmann reading from the Cai Wenji poem of the same name in English

10.  an improvisation 每 Wang Fei on guqin and reciting the Li Bai poem Ting Shu Seng Chun Tan Qin in Chinese, Fred Pohlmann reciting it in English

11.  Zhi Yin 每 Kwan Wong on guqin, Wang Yongan on xiao, Weiran Zhao singing

12. Meihua San NongWeiran Zhao on guqin, Wang Yongan and Kwan Wong on xiao

13. Qiu Feng Ci 每 Fred Pohlmann on guqin and singing, audience singing

14. Yang Guan San Die 每 Jim Binkley on guqin, audience singing

15. Zui Yu Chang Wan (Zha Fuxi version) 每 Jim Binkley on guqin

16. Zi Ye Wu Ge 每 Jiang Wenyu on guqin, Wang Yongan and Kwan Wong on xiao, audience singing in Chinese and English

17. Chang Xiang Si 每 Jiang Wenyu on guqin, Wang Yongan and Kwan Wong on xiao, audience singing in Chinese and English

18. Xiang Jiang Yuan 每 Jiang Wenyu on guqin and singing

List of attendees

Jim Binkley

Yee Ping Chung

Michael Cohen

Eliot Greenleaf

Pat Wong

Kai K Chung

Yi Ma

Frank Lin

Wang Fei

Wenyu Jiang

Weiran Zhao

Fred Pohlmann

Wang Yongan

Kwan Wong

Jennifer Yeh



Thanks go to Jiang Wenyu for arranging the boat ride and to Michael Cohen and Kai K. Chung for photos and videos taken.

For an html version of the yaji report, please visit

In the future, NAGA to plan host yajis with the following themes:

琴韵, 竹影, Music of the qin, shadows of bamboo, a breeze from the sea.

良辰享美食,雅仕品清琴 Enjoying good food at pleasant dawns, cultured people appreciating the elegant sounds of the qin.

Please keep an eye on our news updates at Remember that NAGA will be traveling to China for two guqin conventions. For details go to


Reporter: Fred Pohlmann

Editor: Julian Joseph

North American Guqin Association

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