You probably didn't notice me being away, but I was, and I'm back.
For the last month, I've been in China as part of the British Council and PRS Foundation's Music in Residence China programme. I was in Xiamen (formerly Amoy) in Fujian Province, working between the city and a tiny, pedestrian-only island called Gulangyu.
I was there to write an album that told the story of Xiamen as it exists now, encompassing the ghosts of its former lives, and its status today as one of the fastest growing cities in the world. I spent my time interviewing locals, looking for stories in unexpected places with the help of my translator, Iris. Every day, we were lucky, and our instincts were rewarded with amazing coincidences. I came to believe that we were following a magical force around the city, and halfway through my residency, a woman that we met by chance told us the name of it - Yuan Fen (緣分). It means something like destiny, karma, or synchronicity.
You can read ten things I learned in China (Ten Things I love about ¥?) on the Guardian Music site