Little Paperballs – the Idea behind the Song Title


Today, Colleen Spencer of Smooth Groove Phoenix asked, how the title of the song Little Paperballs came about upon receiving the file. Since there is a little story to that, I decided to share it with all of you:

In the summer of 2009 I happened to have a writing job for Apple Inc. that took me downtown Munich. When the interview with the General Manager of the venue was completed, it was about time for dinner. As I have to watch certain food allergies I usually find me some place Asian (preferrably Thai) when eating out. As I stroll along river Isar in Munich in the vicinity of Deutsches Museum, I spot a restaurant with stickers in the windows, indicating that the place had just opened about a week ago. It looked inviting and wasn’t too crowded yet, as I was early, so I went inside. Upon ordering, I got into chatting with the person who turned out to be the owner of the place and we had a nice conversation about her business concept etc. At that time I had just (again) begun writing my own material and from the quality of the conversation I felt invited to let her listen to some of my just recorded stuff. The bartender from Florida, John, joined us and got very interested in my music. Long story short: I had a gig for some weeks later! The gig was supposed to happen on one of their event nights, following a certain theme for the day. “My” night was set for Lantern Festival, which is a Chinese tradition going back to the times of China being ruled by an Emperor and ending the Chinese New Year celebrations. During the Lantern Festival, children go out at night to temples carrying paper lanterns and solve riddles on the lanterns. Families get together and eat rice balls called yuan xiao. It’s a family gathering under a full moon-lit sky, at the end of which thousands of softly illuminated paper lanterns are being released into the nightsky!
Lantern Festival

I was inspired by that idea and merged the idea of the yuan xiao rice balls and the lanterns into the title “Little Paperballs”. As a special gift to the venue owners, I wrote and recorded the song only two days prior to my gig in order to perform it on my opening night.

P.S. Originally the song sported vocals and there might be a version with vocals somewhere down the road. For reference, here are the lyrics that I wrote:

On the fifteenth of the first month
in the Chinese Lunar Year
You see children carrying paper lanterns
And a full moon just appeared
The lantern shows a riddle
of an ancient mistery
up to you and me to figure out
what the answer just might be

So turn your eyes to the night sky
See a million lanterns fly
Now join and sing it with me
we’re celebrating harmony

We’re gathering in circles
amongst our families
and pass around some rice balls
yuan xiao for you and me
There are fireworks and music
for days and nights to come
the emperor throws a festival
our people become one

Turn your head into the night sky
See a million lanterns fly
always know where you came from
so you know who to become
We all turn our eyes into the night sky
And see a million lanterns fly
the riddle has been answered
we are one big famil

Come meet me at the temple
and bring your sweetest song
our story goes in circles
it goes on and on and on
goes on and on and on
it goes on and on and on…

And we’ll look into the night sky
paper lanterns soaring high
as they vanish into darkness
and their light blends with the stars

Let’s turn our eyes to the night sky
See a million lanterns fly
Now join and sing it with me
we are one big family

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