This past weekend, I met with Terence Lloren who runs “Growing up with Shanghai”, a project series of sound walks with young Shanghainese who grew up in the city in the 1980s and 90s, a period of rapid modernization.
This project is a labor of love for Terence, an American sound recordist/artist who now calls Shanghai home. The recordings are current sounds of Shanghai in the form of dialogue and the natural setting of the hustle and bustle of Shanghai’s streets. The interviewee speaks of memories of childhood locations and a past life, often unrecognizable with new roads and buildings.
On the most recent soundwalk, we were led by Yunqin (who also goes by Emelie), a chatty girl with journalistic aspirations, who took us through a neighborhood in Putuo District in Shanghai, around 兰溪路 (Lanxi Road) and 北石路 (Beishi Road) where she lived until she was 12.
When she was done, she remarked, “I feel as if I cannot stop talking, I could go on forever.”
Her story and many others can be found on the “Growing up with Shanghai” website. The dialogue is in Shanghainese, a deliberate decision to preserve and emphasize the importance of local dialects in China. However, English transcripts allow easy access to this significant project, one that will be hugely appreciated in many years to come.