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SOCIETY & CULTURE

China’s ‘Wandering Singer’ Tunes Into Kids’ Melodies

Musician Liu Jian (left) poses with his wife, American journalist Rebecca Kanthor, and their children. Liu and Kanthor co-founded the Hand in Hand International Children’s Festival. Photo: Liu Jian
Musician Liu Jian (left) poses with his wife, American journalist Rebecca Kanthor, and their children. Liu and Kanthor co-founded the Hand in Hand International Children’s Festival. Photo: Liu Jian

Liu Jian decided he was destined to become a rocker when he first listened to Chinese rock-pioneer Cui Jian. That was when Liu was 16, and it led him to a life as a wandering singer until he managed to save enough money for his first album nearly a decade later.

Liu’s journey also included a six-year stint in the military. His musical talents paved the way for this high-school dropout to enter a prestigious military art academy in Beijing, which counts Nobel laureate Mo Yan among its alumni. But the dream to become a rocker proved irresistible, so he again dropped out and went to Shanghai.

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