td>

Da Shan: A foreigner involved in Chinese culture 

cctv.com 02-28-2004 15:58


On his journey from ordinary overseas student to celebrity, this Canadian won the Chinese audience over with his fluent Mandarin and comic performances of traditional Chinese art Xiang Sheng . How did he achieve such celebrity? What does he think about his work, life and deep involvement in Chinese culture?


On his journey from ordinary overseas student to celebrity, this Canadian won the Chinese audience over with his fluent Mandarin and comic performances of traditional Chinese art Xiang Sheng . How did he achieve such celebrity? What does he think about his work, life and deep involvement in Chinese culture?

鈥淥ne of the most influential foreigners in China鈥;


鈥淎 domestic celebrity as a 鈥渇oreign comedian鈥;

鈥淭he first foreigner to learn Xiangsheng鈥;

鈥淥ne of the top bilingual emcees in China鈥;

鈥淎 public spokesperson for various commercial and non-profit interests鈥;

鈥淎 Chinese son-in-law, amiable and loving life鈥:

This is Dashan, a Canadian guy. He is a foreigner but not an outsider.

"Dashan" is the stage name of Mark Rowswell. Almost unknown by his English name, Dashan is arguably the most famous foreigner in China. He has become a regular fixture on Chinese television and a cultural icon across the nation.

In the episode of Up-close with Da Shan, Fei Fei and Dan Shan talked about his legendary experiences. On his journey from ordinary overseas student to celebrity, this Canadian won the Chinese audience over with his fluent Mandarin and comic performances of the traditional Chinese art Xiang Sheng .

Da Shan brought with him a Kuaiban, a primitive Chinese percussion instrument, and played "Sun Wokong beat Bai Gujing thrice" to the amazement of the audience. After the interesting warm up, Fei Fei and Da Shan talked about how Da Shan became so professional, mastering Chinese even better than many local Chinese people. Da Shan studied Chinese in the University of Toronto for four years, and after graduation. He wanted to apply his Chinese knowledge to the very country it came from, and so he came to Beijing, studying at Peking University. An accidental performance opportunity changed Da Shan鈥檚 life. After the performance, hundreds of thousands of people recognized him as Da Shan, and never even knew his western name.

Da Shan then discussed his Chinese teachers, and how he started on his way to Xiangsheng. Da Shan learned and performed Xiang Sheng with famous Chinese Xiang Sheng performers Jiang Kun and Ding Guangquan. Jiang Kun was his master while the older Ding Guangquan was his grand master. Da Shan actually began to learn Xiang Sheng as a hobby, not as a career. But after further learning and performing it, he found he was really in love with the Chinese art, and chose the way of a Xiangsheng artist.

Besides Xiangsheng, Da Shan talked about his efforts in language education. His role has been like a cultural bridge, transferring both western and eastern culture mutually. Da Shan said he didn鈥檛 have to choose to be a Chinese or foreigner, or choose which country he loves more - China or Canada - because he himself is a perfect combination between East and West. He has the blood of two different cultures. Da Shan also has abundant TV experiences; he told Fei Fei he has been a TV host for quite some time. More excitingly, Da Shan once acted in the TV series 鈥淧alace Artist鈥 as a western commissioner.

Da Shan finally talked about his family. Flying frequently between China and Canada, Da Shan perfectly handles the balance of work and family. In addition to his family in Canada, Da Shan, in a sense, has another family in China. The grand old men of Xiang Sheng, for example, his teacher Jiang Kun and his 鈥淪hi Ye鈥 Ding Guangquan, treat him as their own family member. And his enthusiastic fans treat him as 100% Chinese.

Audience participants were happy to raise many interesting questions related to his career, hobbies, and family. Some asked him, 鈥淭o be a good Xiang Sheng performer, you must be familiar with the Chinese lifestyle, because Xiang Sheng is a reflection of life. What was it like for you to acclimatize yourself to life in China?鈥 Some asked, 鈥淲ill you translate Xiang Sheng into English to perform in western countries?鈥 and so on. Da Shan all gave them satisfying answers.

Editor:Xiang  Source:CCTV.com


1
About Us . Get the Channel? . Contact Us Xinhua . People's Daily . China Daily . CRI . China.org.cn . cycnet . eastday . Tibet.cn
Copyright © 2005 China Central Television, All Rights Reserved