FAIR WARNING: If Sūn Wùkōng (孫悟空) ain’t happy, ain’t NOBODY happy. Not even the Jade Emperor, or even Buddha.
And now that you know this, boys and girls, it’s time to put some Monkey Business on your iPod® or Pono. Because neither it or you can have too much Monkey Business.
Actually, here’s what you’re in for, from our programme notes:
In the first eight chapters of the epic… we meet Monkey, having been birthed out of a 356–foot round stone. After establishing a “paradise” of sorts for him and his fellow primates, Monkey sets out on a personal quest to learn how to achieve immortality. In the time that follows, he masters the skills of cloud somersaulting and transformation, and his name becomes Sūn Wùkōng (孫悟空) (Sūn, the family name, meaning monkey and Wùkōng, his given name, meaning “awake to emptiness”). He will soon come to possess a Compliance Rod, or Rúyì Jīngū Bàng (如意金箍棒), a weapon that can grow or shrink at will. He will obtain a new title: Great Sage Equal to Heaven, or Qítiān Dàshèng (齊天大聖). Finally — in a shocking fit of greed and gluttony — he will finally possess an impenetrable body. His rebellion against the Jade Emperor and his heavenly host, however, will be short–lived when Buddha is summoned to intervene.
But Sūn Wùkōng’s story, as the balance of Journey to the West will show, is far from over.
This is the first of two planned MP3 albums, that, when taken together, will give you an idea of what Diane Wolkstein had in mind with her adaptation of the famous Chinese Monkey King Epic.
Get in on the ground floor now (320kbps VBR stereo, 131.7MB).
P.S.: Jeff Greene of TriBeCaStan provided the music for Mme. Wolkstein’s retelling. If you enjoy what you hear, please show your love by supporting his music label (also on Bandcamp). He will appreciate it, and so will we.
A change of venue today — not China, but Taiwan in 2008.
This roughly 10 minute piece was recorded on behalf of storyteller Diane Wolkstein as she conducted her research into the Monkey King Epic (also known as Journey to the West). Come along for a little while as she and her teacher Sat Hon take more than a passing glimpse into the culture that has grown around Su Wukong.
Videogram ©2008 Diane Wolkstein / Cloudstone Productions.
Another Tumblr membert, lotusprince, found this amazing depiction of our “Great Sage Equal to Heaven” (uh-huh, uh-huh)… made entirely from Chinese characters (and spotted on China Daily’s China Forum BBS).
You see? Su Wukong ("awake to emptiness") truly gets around.
Following on last night’s Journey to the West (西游记) post, I saw this wonderful illustration of four of the Monkey King Epic’s main characters, from wingedtoad's Tumblr site.
What a wonderful start. Keep going!