Ladies & gentlemen, Columbia recording artist Baobo Dilun

Last month we learned that the Iron Range’s top export, taconite pellets to make steel, would be making the long journey to China for the first time in history. This week the Range’s second biggest export, recording artist Bob Dylan, made his first ever appearance in the large Asian nation.

Dylan, who was born in Duluth and raised on the Range, graduating from Hibbing High School in 1959, enjoyed a warm reception by Chinese fans who see him as one of the world’s great voices against war. Unfortunately, as part of the negotiations with the Chinese cultural ministry to allow Dylan to perform there he was prevented from singing “The Times they are a’ Changin'” and other more anti-authoritarian songs. Nevertheless, some of his edgy lyrics still snuck through the censorship.

It would appear that the mere presence of Dylan, singing to a young generation of Chinese very much aware of the lyrics to “The Times They are a’ Changin'” is the larger symbolism.

I’m still involved in making arrangements for Dylan Days 2011, May 26-29 in Hibbing. We’ll be announcing our writing contest winners very soon. Dylan, like taconite*, turns 70 this year.

* Taconite’s age is approximate.


  1. This made me think of the anti war music during my teen years . Is there any thing out there like that these days ? I’m not into much of the popular music, as so much of it sounds rather simplistic musically , as I guess as often been the case with pop music . R

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