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Monica Xiao | Piano Music Posts

The Hidden Life of Coots

In a well-hidden place, there is a well-hidden flock of animals. They swim, dive, eat, they follow, they chase away each other. They form a community and their daily routine, all without being noticed or documented. Relying on water to commute, they can barely take off, which makes them the only birds that flock in 2 dimensions. From ground level, they look nothing as interesting as the swans, merely a dark group of waterfowl floating in dark water. But from above, the water turns crisp green, and one can see how they organically follow each other to form an amazing pattern.

I am fascinated by those birds every time I watch the footage. I am grateful to my husband, the photographer, whose love to wild life and nature brought us to this clip.

Hope you like the music I made especially for “The Hidden Life of Coots”. Visitors from China please go to Skypixel to see this film.

Noise or? Another recorder video

It was a nightmare for somebody. That is why it ended up in the thrift store and got sold for 2 bucks 4 years ago.

Wow, 4 years, and I still call myself a beginner player. To be fair, the only chance I get to practice the recorder is when Sz and I are on a trip somewhere in the nature and he is busy doing his photography, which means I had very little time into learning this instrument, and I am not a genius.

A few days ago, I picked up this flute tune from Claude Bolling’s Suite for Flute. It is really beautiful, and it fits into my soprano’s normal sound range.Higher than that, it would become pure noise.

So here is the video we shot on the weekend in Parc Miribel and Villars les Dombes

There are so many complaints about the sound of the soprano recorders from people who have kids, because the sopranos tend to sound extremely squeaky when played by the inexperienced. I have been trying to play it in a pleasant way, but today I came across this guy and he has totally blown my mind. He is a musician on YouTube who got popular by making fun of the soprano recorder.

Just so you know, he is a serious musician and a comedian. On purpose, he made it sound horrible and off-key, but deeper inside of me it seems the sound does sync with the character, and it tells me who he is: a happy, no-fuksgiving hobbit.

Unfortunately, I am just like the million+ viewers who would rather watch this funny video many times, than watch his more serious music videos.

 

The latest video: Vivaldi Takes Five

It was back in May, when the temperature was still cool. I was so busy preparing for the trip back to China that I forgot to post it here on my website. Chinese visitors who are blocked by the firewall can go to BiliBili.

As I have observed over the years, everyone loves Take Five. Probably Vivaldi would like it, too?

The bird was having a good time munching on my keyboard and fluffing up my black pants. It was much easier to have her on my shoulder instead of the tripod in another video Keeper of Flames.

One of the reasons I have not been posting videos recently is that I have been preparing for a concert in October at INSERM.  It will be the first time they are having a pianist playing a concert there, and I am so looking forward to it 🙂

In August I broke my face from a bike fall, and funny enough, my drone filmed the entire accident from above. Beautiful video, and it is almost a pity that I can not share it with you. But that added a pinch more difficulty to filming another music video, as I was patched up for many days. Now I am much better, and will be ready to film the concert in October.

Enjoy the show!

Southern Wind is here

Southern Wind, Northern Sand CD

My album of 2017, “Southern Wind, Northern Sand” in jewel case is finally here in France! It consists of 13 piano pieces in Jazz/Hispanic/Arabic style. Special thanks to Rune Bo Jakobsen who granted me right to use his amazing art works of Malta on the album covers.

A very limited number of the CDs are available at Bandcamp.

N.B.: If you want the CDs with my autograph, please “Include a Message” to me before you make a purchase. Otherwise, the CD will come to you in its original plastic wrap.

A Flute Enthusiast

Most recently, I did two small projects with my flutes.  There is the music video of me trying a song called “Lord of the Dance” on an alto recorder flute. I really love the location where the video was taken: an area in the north of Lyon with numerous fish ponds. It is the place where my hubby and I would go for a half day biking trip, well, 1/3 of the time biking and 2/3 looking for bugs and birds.

Les Dombes

Well, let’s get to the music playing:

The cows loved my playing!

And then, there is the original composition by me called “Salin de Giraud”

Salin de Giraud is a small French town near the Camargue in Southern France, home to the pink flamingos which live around the salty water. Their red color is said to be from eating the red algae which grows only in shallow sea water. In the recording, I was using the crystal flute sample. It is amazingly natural and even resembles the songs from the flamingos at some point.

If you play any kind of flute, or if you know someone who plays very well, feel free to send me a message because I would really love to collaborate with you!

Videotaping with the bird

Recording with my cockatiel
Check out the video on YouTube, Keeper of Flames, or Bilibili, 守焰人.

I have been listening to Julie Elven’s (original) Keeper of Flames for about 2 years. It becomes an urge for me as a musician to do something with such good music. Therefore, with the approval of Julie Elven herself, here comes the cover of this song in a jazzy style.
While shooting the video I had the idea of bringing Mutyi, my cockatiel, into the scene. It was the worst decision of the day, trying to get her to stay put and not fly away while also keeping up with playing the music. But that is because Mutyi is her Papa’s bird who doesn’t care much about staying next to me on the shaky stand. So I tried the other bird, Koi, and she seemed to be OK with it. Koi is also featured in the following video where she is performing a color distinguishing trick: Cockatiel Telling Colors Trick. No one on YouTube has ever done such sophisticated multi-color tricks with a cockatiel before!

Hope you enjoy the videos!