Bell Yung is an eminent scholar of Cantonese opera and Guangdong song-art. Born in Hong Kong, Yung graduated from the Wah Yan College Kowloon and furthered his study in the US, where he received two doctorates: first a doctorate in physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and then a doctorate in music at the Harvard University. Yung returned to Hong Kong in late 1970s and became a Professor of Music at the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) and the Chair of Music Department at the University of Hong Kong (HKU). At present Yung is a Professor of Music at the University of Pittsburgh in the States.
Bell Yung left the States for Hong Kong in 1974 to undertake his research on Cantonese opera. He happened to have heard Douwun’s nanyin for the first time in the Goethe-Institut. After that he watched him perform in various places like the Art Museum of CUHK and the St. John's Cathedral. Profoundly impressed, Yung decided to make a recording of Douwun’s performance so as to preserve the first-hand experience of nanyin song-art.
“I think most people who research on art history focus on high art. They pay less attention to folk art, and particularly, to documenting the lives of such artists. The song ‘Reminiscence of Douwun the Blind’ documents the plight of an artist of a meager status. It is his perspective, expressed in his own language. I think it is highly valuable to academic research. It is precious material that provides valuable information for those who are to research on folk artists in future. What touches me most is that Douwun, having experienced so much, remains optimistic and forward-looking. He doesn’t grumble or complain. Having learnt about his story, I respect him even more.”