Bill asked him to play. He did...and it was "Jingle Bells"!!!
Excerpt from the Hillman Biography:
50-Year Music Odyssey
Following the Muse Across Asia
While taking a short break on a park bench, after strolling through a scenic
lakeside park in Shanghai, a group of musicians appeared with cases containing
unusual percussion, flute and string instruments. They set up next to us
and started to tune up. I was fascinated by one of their guitar-like instruments
and through body and sign language asked for a demonstration, indicating
that I played guitar.
This led to the musician playing a song that was completely unexpected
here in China on a hot 34 degree spring day: Jingle Bells. The frets
were well raised above the fingerboard, allowing him to press down for
string bends similar to that done on an Indian sitar. Added to this was
a drone note -- all of which made for a most unusual -- but very captivating
-- rendition of the old winter time/Christmas standard.
I couldn't resist and joined him by singing a few verses of Jingle
Bells in English, to the delight of our party and others in the park.
Ref: Gig Notes Part VIII: Festivals and Special Events