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China's Got Talent
August 27, 2010 10:23 AM   Subscribe

"Pianist Liu Wei sits quietly to compose himself before plunging into the music. Then he takes off a sock. The 23-year-old, whose arms were amputated after a childhood accident, plays the piano with his toes."
posted by gman (16 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

Alright. Okay. I teared up a little there.

posted by flapjax at midnite at 10:29 AM on August 27, 2010 [2 favorites]

It was nice, but I wish he'd play something a little more... toe-tappin'.
posted by Atom Eyes at 10:32 AM on August 27, 2010 [3 favorites]


Reminds me of Ravel's Piano Concerto for the Left Hand (second part here.) It was specially commissioned by a pianist who lost his right hand in WWI, but I never imagined seeing a double amputee at the piano.
posted by Wemmick at 10:42 AM on August 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

I'm not even going to watch this. I know too many worthy, two-handed pianists who work so hard for so little recognition. If this guy turns about to be great just playing with his toes, it will be very depressing. (I mean, I already assume he's better than me.)
posted by Faze at 10:59 AM on August 27, 2010

What does "Daren" or "Reached man" mean in the subtitles on the YouTube video? Is it like "enlightened" or is it like "handicapped"?
posted by Xoder at 11:00 AM on August 27, 2010

Seconding flapjax. Needed a little oomph today. Thanks for that.
posted by nickyskye at 11:01 AM on August 27, 2010

Xoder: I assumed they were talking about another disabled performer. But I can't be sure.
posted by lholladay at 11:02 AM on August 27, 2010

The pianist Wemmick mentions above (who lost his right hand in WWI) was my brother, Paul.
posted by wittgenstein at 11:15 AM on August 27, 2010 [9 favorites]

The Coney Island Sideshow has moved to the Internet.
posted by monospace at 11:22 AM on August 27, 2010

Great, now Chinese parents will tell their kids "see that guy plays the piano WITH HIS FEET and you can't even get your sorry self to practice with your hands. What's wrong with you?"
posted by wuwei at 11:44 AM on August 27, 2010 [7 favorites]

Gives a whole new meaning to "twinkle toes".
posted by Kabanos at 12:10 PM on August 27, 2010

The pianist Wemmick mentions above (who lost his right hand in WWI) was my brother, Paul.

I take things too literally sometimes. "Wait, MeFi has a user who is old enough to have a brother who was injured in WWI (1914-1918).????" That doesn't seem possible. I think the MeFi user who goes by the handle of wittgenstein is younger than I am and I was born in 1956.

Then, I did a little more googling and realized that he was referring to Paul Wittgenstein (1887-1961), the younger brother of Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951).

I know everybody else figured that out right away, but I was really scratching my head there for a little while.
posted by marsha56 at 12:42 PM on August 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

Okay, so they apparently propped up the pedal before he started to play, or what happens? (reminds me that a piano manufacturer - I think Steingräber - developed a bite-device to operate the damper pedal for a Norwegian concert pianist who got paralyzed. I can only find a pdf link to their entire catalog, so we skip that here).

Otherwise - yes, inspiring. But why - especially since there's all that publicity and stuff but also otherwise - do they let him play on a piano that's that bad out of tune? As if it doesn't matter that he actually plays some music.
posted by Namlit at 1:05 PM on August 27, 2010

Xoder: da-ren is 达人,a rather fashionable way to say 'a talented person'.
posted by of strange foe at 1:42 PM on August 27, 2010

This guy is amazing.

And I have to say: personally, in his situation, I'm pretty sure I would've picked the trombone.
posted by koeselitz at 2:03 PM on August 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

Oh, Namlit, I'm glad someone else was annoyed about the out-of-tune piano. That did reinforce some of the more stunt-y aspects of the performance for me.

Not that I wasn't inspired and all that, obviously he has put in a ton of work and I wouldn't have even thought it was possible to achieve that kind of dexterity in your toes.
posted by mskyle at 3:58 PM on August 27, 2010

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