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“There are no tin cans in Shanghai!”

Percussionist Ryan Scott forgot to bring tin cans to Shanghai.

A cry for help! From percussionist Ryan Scott’s phone

When leaving for Shanghai, Scott not only packed this own bag, he also brought a bag full of mallets, gongs and other percussion equipment the master percussionist didn’t think he could get on the other side of the world. The catch was, he only brought what he didn’t think he could find.

One of the works performed in Shanghai was John Cage’s Credo in US is written for:
5 muted gongs
10 tin cans
Electric buzzer
2 Tom-Toms
Piano
Hands on Wood
Radio ( with instructions to “Avoid news programs during National or International Emergencies”)
Phonograph (with instructions to use some classical music)

“In Credo in US, John Cage wrote for tin cans because anyone could access them. Fascinating to learn there are no tin cans in Shanghai!” Scott explained. He wrote “Cage wrote for a number of instruments that could easily be sourced by anyone including cans, brake drums and spring coils (from cars) and we had just assumed we could find them here and not actually have to bring them with us.”

The final setup. Photo by percussionist Dan Morphy

True to the spirit of Cage’s work – Scott and the local stage manager set to work sourcing new instruments.

“Our stage manager Yang Zhung managed to source tin tea cans from several of his friends – he spent the entire morning zipping around Shanghai on his electric bike to find them – including one which had swiss chocolates that was given to him as a gift the evening before from a group touring from Europe. We also used a few off his father’s pot lids from the kitchen.” [insert photo of the final setup]

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