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February 19, 2013


Chinese New Year – L’Année du Serpent

by soundlandscapes

IT’S THAT TIME of the year again, Chinese New Year and it’s goodbye to the year of the dragon and welcome to the year of the snake.


The Chinese New Year is a moveable feast. In the Gregorian calendar it falls somewhere between 21st January and the 20th February but the precise date is determined by the lunisolar Chinese calendar and the date when the second new moon after the winter solstice occurs.


Each year in the Chinese calendar is associated with one of the 12-year cycle of animals which appear in the Chinese zodiac. This year is the year of the snake.


Chinese communities the world over celebrate their new year with tremendous enthusiasm and the Chinese community in Paris is no exception. The streets are decorated with red Chinese lanterns, wonderful colours abound and the air is filled with the magical sounds of drums and cymbals accompanying the magnificent lion dances.

I went to Place d’Italie in the 13th arrondissement to watch and listen to the celebrations.


The Year of the Snake in Sound:





6 Comments Post a comment
  1. hmunro
    Feb 19 2013

    What a wonderful, festive racket! I wish you a very happy, very healthy Year of the Snake, Des.

    • Feb 20 2013

      Thanks Heather and the same to you. Yes it does sound like a racket doesn’t it but actually the sounds are very structured. They interact with the dancing lions and this year, the snakes, as part of very complex dance routines and story telling. And, of course, they all seem to have so much fun. So, here’s to the Year of the Snake!

  2. richard beard
    Feb 20 2013

    Superb recording – the binaural works so well on headphones. While listening I spent a few minutes looking at the photos, then I closed my eyes and that’s when the recording really came to life for me. I am a snake – I missed the celebrations in Gerrard Street this year, so your recording was welcome, not only as an alternative but also as an experience in its own right.

    • Feb 20 2013

      Thanks Richard. I’m pleased you enjoyed this recording. I was a little late arriving this year so I had to battle with the crowds in order to a good position but I think the battle was worth it.

  3. Mar 1 2013

    Another fantastic festive recording – with all those gongs/drums you must have had your eye on the recording level quite a lot. It’s always great to hear the dynamism of multiculturalism in your Parisian recordings.

    • Mar 6 2013

      Recording these cultural festivals is always a challenge but it’s also always fun. Anticipation is the key – judging where the next big sound is likely to come from and then getting into the right position to capture it. I’ve recorded a lot of these festivals now so I usually have a pretty good idea of what’s likely to happen next … although I still get caught out sometimes.


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