Sounds of my City: Urumqi

Left leg, right arm and center ear of s&S Radio (the ROGC) was for over 2 years based in the far side of the PRC – in the city of Ürümqi.
Take a few moments & pay a vicarious visit by way of a playlist collection of incidental & ambient sounds that make living in a place like this what it is.

*Another bonus instance of the pigeon flock droning around my 6th floor apartment. With some narration. One bird (or 2?) in the group is fitted with a small whistle device that creates this sound as they fly. You can hear this eerie drone in the sky at random times all over my neighborhood where pigeon keeping is common. Try setting this sound going in tandem with some of the sounds above. It tends to be how my ears experience the neighborhood.

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If you enjoy this little sonic window to this side of the planet, have questions etc, please leave a comment!

My hope is that others will be inspired to submit small collections of sounds of their cities to be posted in separate playlists – making this area of the site an little travel center in sound. If you’d like to contribute, please send a note through the CONTACT page.


  1. Katyana said,

    December 21, 2007 at 1:15 am

    The pigeon whistle backpacks are the most amazing sound! Thank you for sharing them. I also love the accent on “Moskovniye Vechera.” A regular in my own shower repertoire, I wonder what he would think of my own accent while singing it. Oooo, electronic birds! I should have listened to all of these gems first, then commented. Great fun! Thank you for the trip to Urumqi for the holidays!

  2. Eric Boros said,

    February 12, 2008 at 5:12 am

    Hey this is great! I see you are still in Urumqi, we’ll be in China soon but I think the closest we’ll get to you will be Xining… Hope you are well. Eric.

  3. poetpiet said,

    February 26, 2008 at 11:03 am

    hey, here is a dutchman typing, i heard some live coverage collation about chinese company mining in Zambia – looks, i mean, sounds like us whity colonials, or our whity colonials, you know, the ones we let slip and askape a way into regrettably unrestrained adventure, mercantile success and what have you along the lines opposing going native garden cultures and not leaving traumatized desertifyers behind but gently though firmly guiding them into absolute top soulery ward ored oord ort aard gaard. Traffic conductor for rocks turned to compost turned to that ripe and fresh festi food. Comb oddity supremo. You know, the stuff priced out of common man’s market in the ancestral regions of china, that is to say, that island to the east of them, with the aenemia and the miniaturization.

  4. Knute Myhrvold said,

    March 7, 2008 at 1:34 am

    EXCELLENT! The recordings are wonderful, and the addition of pics and explanatory text is a great addition.
    Works well in Internet Explorer and even better in Firefox.

  5. Andreas Bick said,

    June 8, 2008 at 2:48 am

    Hi Fausto, the recording of the pigeon whistles is fantastic, I guess it is the best you can find around the web. I wrote a post on my blog and put a little excerpt of your recording, hope you’re fine with that:
    Are you still living in this area? I enjoyed the Xinjiang recordings of “folk music” as well, very nice quality!
    The best and good luck, Andreas

  6. Will said,

    December 9, 2008 at 12:51 pm

    In ”Primary School Children Singing #9“, the teacher should have translated the song “没有共产党, 没有新中国” as “No New China Without the Communist Party” instead of “No PLA, No Chinese.” It’s not a protest song (quite the opposite) as her translation might lead you to believe, and given the relations in the area between locals and the party.

  7. Continuumix #8 « Continuo’s weblog said,

    November 16, 2010 at 3:07 am

    [...] Region, in the northwest side of China, where Caceres lived for 2 years, as documented on his blog. Equipping flock of pigeons with whistles is a very ancient Chinese tradition (see also [...]

  8. James Paisley said,

    June 12, 2011 at 7:51 am

    Yes, very amazing. We’re interested in the process by which the whistle is fitted to the birdies. I love your project in general. Thanks

  9. Mel Miller: Musical Instruments at the Met: Part II – Woodwind, Brass … | said,

    December 2, 2012 at 3:58 am

    [...] In China, they were attached to the tails of pigeons, and when the birds flew overhead, an eerie sound could be heard. The usage of these devices dates back to the southern Song Dynasty (1127 – [...]

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