A video of an elderly street sweeper singing and playing guitar has received over 120,000 views on Chinese social media. Nearly forty years ago, Chen Hengqiu, now 62, spent 29.1 yuan ($4.40) on a guitar.
In the intervening years, he’s worked as a dish washer, shoeshiner, and street sweeper, always with his guitar in tow. “I learned it all by myself,” he told the Chengdu Business Daily. “I can’t afford a teacher.”
Chen’s guitar is old and rust worn, but he can’t afford a new one. A while ago, he wandered into a musical instrument shop and played a few tunes. The owner heard his story and decided to let him practice on his guitars for free. “He’s a very optimistic person, and he often tells us stories about himself,” the shop owner said.
Chen works from 6 in the morning till 6 at night. Every day he plays guitar on the side of the road in Chengdu for which he is responsible. His boss has been touched by his spirit and would like to buy Chen a new guitar.
“Age doesn’t matter in music,” Chen says. “I’m not a guitar guru, but everyone has the right to pursue their dreams.”
Listen to his music here:
By Alex Tang
[Images via CDSB]