It’s the whole family now. Really. I have this story from my mom, who finds it hilarious. She’s right, of course, but it is still a bit exasperating.
My dad, who has not listened to popular music in any language since ABBA split up and Three Dog Night disbanded, was in a Chinese restaurant in Minnesota last night with my mom and cousins. On his way out, he noticed a Chinese newspaper by the door. He picked it up and started paging through. My 100% Norwegian dad, of course, speaks (and reads) not a word of Chinese, but as he thumbed through the paper, he said aloud, “I wonder if there is any news about Leehom in here?” The Chinese hostess gave him an odd look, and he apparently took this as an invitation to press the issue. He asked if she knew of Leehom, and she admitted she did not. He explained that he is a Chinese American singer-songwriter from New York who is huge in Asia. She admitted she’d still never heard of him. So my cousin and my Mom jumped in to explain that Leehom, surnamed Wang, is a player of many instruments, multi-talented and generally wonderful. She promised them that as soon as she had a chance, she would check him out. That’s right, now my Norwegian family is spreading the word about Mandopop to their Chinese neighbors in Minnesota. Yup.
I can’t think how Leehom has made such an impression on my dad, other than the fact that we’ve shown him some videos of Leehom playing piano. On faster, jazzy songs, he plays like my dad. Same posture, same emphatic foot-tapping, same bent head, same sound, same flourishes. In fact, Leehom could be my dad playing the piano, except, you know, 20-some years younger and Chinese. A minor difference.