Lunch with Silk Road Music's Qiu Xia He and Andre Thibault

Lunch with Silk Road Music's Qiu Xia He and Andre Thibault

I had lunch today with Qiu Xia He and Andre Thibault – the husband-wife
core of the music ensemble Silk Road Music, led by Qiu Xia.  They
have recently returned from Easter concerts on Hornby Island, and
Vancouvr Island + an extended tour of Toronto area schools in Ontario
from January to February.  For a rave review of their recent
Toronto concert appearance click here.

They are a wonderful couple, wonderful human beings, with good hearts
that I truly feel comfortable with.  It has been very nice getting
to know this musically exciting multicultural couple.  And it was
made extra special by the presence of Andre's daughter Anita, and her
friend Janie.  

Qiu Xia was born in Xi'an China and came to Canada in 1985.  Andre
is French Canadian (originally descended from Acadians from Nova
Scotia) and came to Vancouver in the late 1970's.  They have now
been part of the Gung Haggis Fat Choy family since Fall 2003 when Silk
Road Music was featured in the CBC TV performance special.  Qiu
Xia and Andre also performed with me for the 2004 GHFC dinners at
Flamingo Restaurant and then this year for the First Night Vancouver at
Library Square.

Today we remarked how strange it was to actually be able to talk and be
relaxed.  Usually we only see each other when we are doing shows,
or having meetings…  But there is a very nice mutual respect and
friendship that I sense with this couple.  And today, we discussed
some recent discoveries about the mutual connections in our lives that
were uncovered when I phoned my cousin Wayne on Hornby Island to ask if
it was possible for a visit over Easter Weekend.  Wayne replied
that the rooms were full because Silk Road Music was staying up at with
them at Hornby Island, and that he had known both Qui Xia and Andre for
many years.   I explained to Andre how the family connections
worked, and we discovered that he had actually met Wayne's younger
brother who had studied classical guitar at the Paris Sorbonne many
years before.  Another connection is that they know Wayne's older
brother Joe Wai, the architect who helped design the Dr. Sun Yat Sen
Gardens, where they have performed many times, and where Qiu Xia has
set up the “Enchanted Evenings” summer music performances.

Andre showed me their music practice room, with guitar and pipa all set
to go.  I was amazed at how many flutes that Andre had.  He
told me that he even has a chinese “shung” or reed flute.  Qiu Xia
was very excited when I told her that my paternal grandmother had been
a trained Chinese court musician playing a chinese auto harp.  She
told me the Chinese name and showed me a similar instrument that she
has hanging on her wall which is more like a Chinese koto.  Qiu
Xia was also fascinated to learn that I am 5th generation Canadian of
Chinese descent.  Having been in Canada now for almost 20 years,
she is fascinated about the transition of becoming Canadian and would
like to learn more to see how other Chinese have become Canadianized
over the years and over generations.  Perhaps I will invite Qiu
Xia and Andre to one of my family dinners so they can meet all my
cousins, aunts and uncles and see how almost everybody is now marrying

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