Reuters blog archive
from Photographers' Blog:
By Jason Lee
Every night from 7pm until around midnight, anyone in Beijing who craves a bit of music can go and enjoy an “open-air concert” in the southeast of the city.
The singer, Zhang Mingyuan, isn’t part of a famous music label and his performances are just held on a street corner. But even so, the warm atmosphere that he creates in the chilly night air seldom disappoints.
Many of Zhang’s songs are about a happy family life, but his own childhood seems to have been far from content. Born in China’s northeast Heilongjiang province, Zhang said that his father had depression and his mother left him when Zhang was 11 years old. His father left later and Zhang said he was abandoned.
He struggled to feed himself, and when he turned 17 he joined the military, where he learned the basics of music through playing in an army band. After doing two years of military service he had a passion for singing and needed to find a way to support himself. His career as a street musician began.