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The Great Wall News

'The Piano Guys' scales the Great Wall for video shoot

Internet sensation, the Piano Guys are in China. The Utah-based group took some precious time off their Asian tour in Singapore and Malaysia to fulfil their China dream - shooting a music video on the Great Wall of China...

September 16, 2013

Great Wall Forest Festival kicks off

The 2013 Yanqing Great Wall Forest Festival, the fourth edition of its kind, was held from August 24 to August 25 in the Tanglewood Music Valley at the foot of the Great Wall Badaling Section in Beijing's Yanqing County...

August 29, 2013

Jet Team above the Great Wall

Aircraft of Breitling Jet Team, a famous European aerobatic team, perform above the Great Wall of the Jiayuguan Pass in northwest China's Gansu Province, Aug. 13, 2013...

August 16, 2013

Unique section of the Great Wall draws in visitors

As people all know what the Great Wall looks like but did you know that some of it is built over water? The Jiumenkou section of the wall in Liaoning Province in North East China is famous for just that...

  August 09, 2013

Great Wall 'cuts into' Canadian guitarist's hit album


As a marvel of all marvels under the sun and above the soil, the Great Wall of China has generated excitement and intrigue for centuries.

"He who has not climbed the Great Wall is not a true man." For those "true men" it is hard not to take back home something that help recall their lifetime experience -- photos, video clips and souvenirs -- after climbing onto the Great Wall in China.

The Great Wall, Great Wall of China

Don Alder, one of the best acoustic guitarists in the world, got his own way for the celebration: the first cut on his new tune album "Not A Planet" is a song dedicated to the world wonder -- " The Wall."

The 4-minute-odd song is so breezily brimming with perfection that it takes merely the first few bars to completely arrest listeners. One of Alder's fan reviewed: "This song really is delightful! ...There is nothing that can compare to the skill and determination you exemplify in your writing and performing -- Like that of the builders of the wall!"

"The inspiration came from actually being on the Great Wall of China with a guitar," Alder told Xinhua at the Canadian Guitar Festival held on August 1-3 in Kingston, Ontario.

"I can't imagine the profound thinking that went into the creation of the Great Wall. When I got on the Great Wall I was inspired, went into song writing mode and came up with a new song idea. Of course I called it 'The Wall,'" he said.

While Alder composed the song in 2006, his connection with the Great Wall dates back 20 years earlier to 1986, when he accompanied his best friend Rick Hansen on his famous "The Man In Motion World Tour."

Alder and Hansen were good friends as teenagers and after a day of fishing, the two were returning home when they had an accident and Hansen suffered a spinal injury, but Alder came away without injury. Hansen went on to become a world-class wheel chair athlete and he wheeled almost 40,000 kilometers in a wheelchair through 34 countries raising awareness about spinal cord research.

As a member of Hansen's world tour, Alder and his colleagues took great efforts to help him wheel onto the Great Wall and viewed this as one of the great achievements of the tour. During the 20 years after the tour the memory of that trip kept coming back to Alder's mind until he finally composed "The Wall" in 2006.

Alder was touched both by the symbolic meaning of the Great Wall and of his friend's determination of achievement. For him, " The Wall" is a eulogy of the strength of human unity.

"If you take a team of people and put them together you could accomplish great things. The inspiration of the song is people coming together and create great things," he said.

"The Wall" became a hit as soon as it came out. In 2007 Alder became the first Canadian to win the 2007 International Fingerstyle Championships held in the United States. One of his two winning pieces was "The Wall."

Having been to China for three times, Alder has become a fan of Chinese culture, especially the profuse Chinese cuisine. He described the changes there as "amazing," but what impressed him most is the common people, who are always so friendly and ready to help. He said he "absolutely" would like to go back to China for a tour.

"Not a Planet" has also been a great success. It received a 2009 nomination for "Instrumental CD of the Year" from the Western Canadian Music Alliance and Alder continues to garner national and international attention for his live performances and youtube videos.

"Not a Planet" demonstrates Alder's innovative techniques and fretboard fluidity for which he is known, and continues to push beyond the accepted parameters of his instrument. It's lilting, melancholic, edgy, rhythmic sounds illustrate Alders mastery of the wide array of tonal possibilities available from his instrument, an expert writes in a review.

In 2006, Alder was approached by film producer Michael French to participate in the making of a movie about Rick Hansen and "The Man In Motion World Tour." The movie was released in theaters in 2008. Alder's character was in the movie and some of his original music was used in the film.

At 49, Alder has been playing guitar for the past 33 years. He began to play guitar at the age of 13 when he was given an electric guitar during a six-month sick leave from school. Ever since, guitar has become an inalienable part of his life.

Playing guitar makes Alder young. As one of the best acoustic guitarists in the world, and one of Canada's premiere harp guitarists, Alder sees himself as "very very young and getting younger each year."

(Xinhua News Agency August 13, 2009)

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