2020年春节前，我和美国好基友Daniel一起录制了6首Old Time小曲子，灌录定名为《Kicking Up The Devil On A Holiday》的EP。录音属于“一遍过”的那种，一架主麦外加两支Overhead话筒，最多不超过三轨，玩得就是现场感，自然粗糙原生态，追求Old Time的感觉——当然啦，演奏上免不了有些小瑕疵。其间，我弹班卓琴，Daniel弹曼陀铃，在EP同名曲中他还演奏了小提琴和哨笛。
This obscure tune has a special place in my heart. Its colorful title mixes the sacred and the profane and creates a fun picture in my mind. In older times, if you caused trouble, people said you were “kicking up the devil.” I am sure there is a great story behind this tune, but the only witness to it was a fiddler, not a writer.
My own story with this tune begins in Seoul’s Haebangchon neighborhood. I learned it from the talented Korean fiddler Koh Hae-Young. Each month at the Seoul Old-time Jam, I would put down my mandolin and pick up my whistle. Then we would “kick up the devil” together. This is a dear memory.
Now I’ve passed the tune along to Florian and we have made it our own. When we kick up the devil together, we go into a trance. I think we could play this tune for an hour and still be excited when it comes back around to the beginning. For me, it is a joy unlike any other and a memory I will take wherever I go next.
Daniel recommended this tune to me in his Beijing apartment. He brought out a bunch of tin whistles and played it, and we improvised and finally chose the Double D tuning on the banjo. Playing old-time always makes a place for meditation, but especially this one. When recording, this was the last tune of the day, but also our most relaxed tune, almost twice done. First he played the fiddle and I played banjo, and then he played the whistle again. This is a very simple song, but it conveys some kind of magic. Perhaps it is also because the title of the song can make people imagine all kinds of things!
When making a final mix, this one was specially dealt with by my friend, who is a mixing engineer (I mixed the others a little bit on my own). This friend suggested that it would be better if there were foot stomps in the recording, and I immediately asked him to use his imagination to make all the beat sound effects in it. Although it is very unconventional for old-time music, both Daniel and I thought the result was surprising, exciting, and impressive. The wonderful stomping and high-five beats add a mysterious sense of ritual, making this already magical tune even moreso.