SIDANGKOU, China — By day, the factory workers pound sheets of brass into cylinders and slather metal buttons with glue. By night, they take their creations to the street and begin to play.
The soothing melodies flow through cornfields, street markets and public squares. They interweave with the shouts of street vendors hawking tofu and men playing mah-jongg.
This is the music of Sidangkou, a northern Chinese village of 4,000, where one sound rules above all else: the saxophone.
Farmers take the instrument into fields to belt out patriotic tunes against the sunset. Children play in all-saxophone bands at school. Shopkeepers set their ringtones to the wistful songs of Kenny G.
Chen Jinsheng, left, practicing “Spring Comes to the North,” a Japanese folk song, with friends in a public square in Sidangkou. He and his friends play in an amateur band.Student musicians at a school in Sidangkou that boasts an all-saxophone band. It’s a reflection of the instrument’s special place in the town of 4,000.