UCCA Beijing

Performing Arts Platform Series: Put Down the Phone and Do-Si-Do! American Old-time Music and Square Dancing


Performing Arts
Location:  UCCA Atrium

Why sit at home on a midsummer weekend waiting for friends to call? Instead, invite them to join you on 19 July at UCCA for an afternoon hootenanny of good old-fashioned American song and dance! Kirk Kenney, Chris Hawke, and Josh Dyer bring their high energy and sense of humor to a live performance and square dance, featuring violin, banjo, guitar, and double bass. Their Appalachian melodies evoke the nostalgia of rural folk music and American bluegrass. Finally, you’ll have the chance to jump up out of your seats with friends and family in one of America’s greatest old-time pastimes—the square dance!

Part 1

The Rural Experience: Daily interactions, tomfoolery and work life of the Appalachian mountains

1. Ida Red

2. Chinquapin Hunting

3. Goodbye Liza Jane

4. Cluck Old Hen

5. He Went to Sleep and the Hogs Ate Him

Part 2

Life and Death: Telling the harsh realities of lives in transition, and the world beyond death

1. Cryin’ Holy unto the Lord

2. John Hardy

3. Are You Washed in the Blood of the Lamb?

Part 3

Urban Shift: Illuminating the bittersweet loss of the Old Home Place in exchange for a more comfortable modern lifestyle

1. My Home’s Across the Blue Ridge Mountains

2. Summertime is Past and Gone

3. Two Dollar Bill (Long Journey Home)

Part 4

O Brother, Where Art Thou? and the “Americana Come Back”: The movie and the songs that sparked a resurgence of Old Time and the “Americana” genre

1. Death

2. Down in the River to Pray

3. Old Home Place

4. Angel Band

(Program subject to change)

Ticketing & Participation

Presale: RMB 60

Door: RMB 80

Presale tickets can be purchased on the UCCA website and on Douban.


*You can collect your ticket from the ticket desk 30 minutes before the event begins.

*No late entry.


Kirk Kenney, born in Florida, has played guitar for over a decade, but switched to fiddle after coming under the spell of Michael Ismerio three years ago in Beijing. He is a cofounder of Beijing’s only old time string band, the Hutong Yellow Weasels, and performs for weekly square dances. He is also the organizer of an informal group of bluegrass and old time musicians that meets every week in the capital to jam. He is currently on a tour around China that includes a performance at the major Guinness Wood+Wire Festival in Shanghai and the Musicians and Dancers Summit in Beijing. Kirk has two years of experience in early childhood education and studied Chinese at Bennington College, where he graduated with a liberal arts degree.

Chris Hawke, born in Orillia, Ontario, cofounded the Hutong Yellow Weasels with Kirk Kenney. He plays guitar and bass for the band and is studying how to play old-time fiddle music. He teaches journalism at Communication University of China and works at the Global Times as an editor. He has worked as a journalist based in New York City, Tokyo, and Bangkok, and has gone on assignment to Kabul, Islamabad, and Beijing for the Associated Press. More information about the Hutong Yellow Weasels can be found on their site: www.yellowweasels.com

Josh Dyer is a professional translator consumed by the twin delusions that he is a country musician and that Beijing is an up-and-coming Nashville where his songwriting and guitar-strumming talents will be richly rewarded. When his translation duties allow, he dons blue jeans and western shirts, grabs a guitar or dobro, and hops on stage with locally acclaimed American music acts such as the Randy Abel Stable, the Hutong Yellow Weasels, and the Honky Tonk Angels. In the past, he has done translations for UCCA and other arts organizations in China, but he is delighted to be appearing at UCCA as a musician, more evidence that the larger world is buying into his carefully cultivated musical fantasies.

About the Performing Arts Platform Series

In March 2014, UCCA and Ping Pong Productions launched the Performing Arts Platform Series. Through a wide variety of performances, open rehearsals, performing arts workshops, master classes, arts management seminars, lectures, talks, and discussions with artists, critics, and scholars, this program series creates unprecedented opportunities for Chinese and international performing artists and audiences to meet and interact. It facilitates cross-genre and cross-cultural exploration, enriching cultural exchange and collaboration between Chinese and international artists, audiences, and students.

Ping Pong Productions is a catalyst that brings China and the world together through the performing arts. As artistic ambassadors, they engage cultures through discourse, searching for points of cooperation, mutual exchange, and understanding. They develop cultural exchange projects and facilitate creative collaborations between Chinese and international artists, scholars and audiences. With teams based in China and the United States, PPP has extensive experience providing production, consulting, management, and planning services.