Yunnan helps rock Times Square celebration

Updated: 2015-01-01 12:49

By Niu Yue in New York(China Daily USA)

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Yunnan helps rock Times Square celebration

Zhang Qiyue (center), consul general of China in New York, is joined by Zhang Jinping (to her left), president of the Sino-American Friendship Association; Duan Yueqing (to her right), director general of the Yunnan Provincial Tourism Development Commission; and other guests at the Times Square New Year's Eve countdown in New York on Wednesday. Other guests include (second from left) Li Li, SAFA's executive vice-president; Emil Lissauer, representative ofNew York City Mayor Bill de Blasio; Tim Topkins, president of the Times Square Alliance;Xue Yaping, director of the China National Tourist Office in New York; and Chinese artist Yuan Xikun. Lu Huiquan / For China Daily

For the fourth year in a row, New York City kicked off its New Year's Eve countdown in Times Square with a Chinese cultural show.

The performance by the Yunnan provincial government started shortly after the New Year's Eve ball was lighted and raised. The pulsating euphoria in Times Square concludes with the dropping of the ball, which rings in 2015.

The Yunnan performance showcased "the rich heritage of one of China's most beautiful provinces", New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio wrote in a congratulatory letter. The city's "wonderful vibrancy and diversity is also on display," the letter said.

The 15-minute performance featured Yunnan folk singing, dancing and greetings from the province in southwestern China, which borders Myanmar, Laos and Vietnam.

The opening song The Peacock's Blessings celebrates an auspicious bird among ethnic groups in Yunnan. Then came The Little Running River, known as The Serenade in the East.

"I am very happy to join such an activity to introduce Chinese culture to people in the United States and the whole world," said Zhang Qiyue, the new consul general of China in New York. "I think culture is the best thing to strengthen communication and exchanges, so it is very meaningful to celebrate the new year in this way."

"Music is universal," said Ling Ling, one of the singers at the performance. "You might not know our language, but melody can be appreciated globally. Just like foreign language songs in China, although many Chinese do not know the language, they can still feel the emotions."

It took Yunnan province around a year to prepare for its Times Square debut, and around two months for the rehearsal.

During the performance, artist Yuan Xikun from Yunnan also presented one of his most famous painting, Shenjun, or God-like Horse. The horse also stands for success and progress in Chinese culture.

"Our country is getting prosperous," said Yuan. "Our art is also going beyond borders. I want to express our Chinese Dream."

This year's performers also include Emmy award-winner Raul de Molina, pop singers Idina Menzel, Taylor Swift and other celebrities across the country. Around 1 million were estimated to jam the Times Square area, and another 1 billion were expected to view the festivities on TV and online.

Yunnan is one of the most culturally diverse regions in China. Almost all of China's 56 ethnic groups can be found in the province.

"Each ethnicity has its own culture," said Duan Yueqing, director general of the Yunnan Provincial Tourism Development Commission. "You may need at least 10 to 15 days to know the place."

The performance was also part of Yunnan's marketing campaign to attract more foreign tourists.

Lu Huiquan in New York contributed to this report.