Pop musician Kenny G has caused a stir in China this week, raising the ire of Beijing’s Communist Party leaders and the hearts of Occupy Central students and protesters.
Mister G is among the most widely known modern pop musicians, having sold over 75 million recordings of saxophone compositions. In China his “Going Home” song is used by retailers to alert shoppers (see below) that the stores are closing and it is time to head for the exits and “Go Home.”
Kenny G, 58, was born Kenneth Bruce Gorelick in Starbuck’s country (Seattle, Washington), and studied at the University of Washington. He learned to blow shofar at Congregation Herzl-Ner Tamid. An avid lifelong golfer, he is visiting China this week to play in a pro-amateur golf tournament in Haikuo (The 3rd annual Mission Hills Haikou Resort Pro Am Tournie on the island of Hainan). Contrary to whispers, he was not a pie-eyed piper sent to HK from Beijing to play Going Home so that the protesters would pack up and go home.
While in Hong Kong, he tweeted a selfie with some pro-democracy protesters and wrote that he wished for a “peaceful and positive conclusion to the situation.” He later deleted the tweet when it caused a controversy. Beijing was none too happy with this incursion into domestic politics, no matter how popular a person’s sax tunes are, and especially not from a “foreign influence or foreign force.”
Gorelick said that he is not a “foreign force” in China seeking to interfere, nor is he “trying to defy government orders.” He was in HK Central for all of five minutes. Gorelick said that when he travels, he is not the type to sit around in his hotel room, and he likes to walk, explore and speak to the locals, so he went to see the protesters who were congregating near his hotel.
Kenny G will be playing with the following golfers: Morgan Freeman,
Nicole Kidman, Jessica Alba, Chris Evans, Greg Norman, Yao Ming,
Evgeni Plushenko, Li Ning, Jay Chou, Feng Xiaogang, Jung Ji-Hoon Rain, Simon Yan, and – of course – Sammo Hung.
He said he is just a sax player and that since he has a sax in his mouth most of the time, so there few opportunities to need to censor him.
Sadly he will miss the Hong Kong Jewish Film Festival, which does not commence until November 29. Its 2014 theme is “courage,” and it will include a film about the Israeli Air Force; as well as “Anywhere Else (Anderswo);” “Arabani;” Eytan Fox’s “Cupcakes;” and “Dancing in Jaffa” to name a few.