In response to the horrific violence against Asian elderly we held a stuck-at-home concert in May celebrating the power and grace of Asian grandmothers. We were inspired by Xiao Zhen Xie, a 75-year-old Asian grandmother who fought back against her attacker after being punched. We had performances from grandmothers, their grandchildren, and others, followed by a discussion panel on experiences of generations of Asian-American women.
I sang 浜辺の歌 (Hamabe no Uta), Song of the Seashore. It’s a simple, beautiful song of a man wandering the seashore, remembering things and people as he is immersed in the sounds and sights of the ocean and skies. It was my grandmother’s favorite and has a haunting sense of nostalgia for me as I must have heard it in my pre-verbal infancy and it is deeply ingrained in my consciousness.
Are there songs that do this for you? What song would you sing for your grandmother?
You can listen here at 6:50
Wandering on the seashore in the morning
Brings me back to the old days
The sound of the wind, the shape of the clouds
Waves breaking in, the color of the shells
Wandering on the seashore in the evening
Remembering people from the past
Waves breaking in and going back to sea
The color of the moon, the light of the stars
The waves to rise with a gust of wind
The hem of my red kimono is soaking wet
I once was sick, now back on my feet
Here I stand ashore like a fine grain of sand