Warren Buffett celebrates Lunar New Year with ukulele performance

This story has been updated.

The citizens of China got an unusual greeting from Berkshire Hathaway billionaire Warren Buffett for the Lunar New Year: A video of him singing and playing the ukulele to the tune of “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad.”

The video was posted to YouTube by Russia Today. Buffett sang the classic American folk song before a model railroad kit last year at a charity event, the Wall Street Journal reports. It was supposed to be mixed with a greeting Buffett recorded as part of a five-hour gala television event celebrating the new year.

News spread earlier this month that he would be singing for millions of Chinese Internet users when the Chinese state media made a press anouncement. The Journal reported that Buffett asked the television to pull his greeting after he found out the show would include his previously recorded song.

Why he didn’t approve of the song is somewhat confusing. Buffett is no stranger to the stage: He’s played the ukulele solo and with the Quebe Sisters Band, and has even rocked out in a Geico commercial. In an interview with performance artists Roger Greenawalt and David Barratt, Buffett revealed the reason he learned the instrument: To impress a girl.


View Photo Gallery: Monday marks the beginning of the new lunar year in China and other countries influenced by Chinese culture. It is the most important holiday on the Chinese calendar, comparable to a combination of Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day, when families gather to share the blessings of the past year and attract good fortune in the coming one.


View Photo Gallery: Brightly colored lights illuminate giant ice structures at China’s Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival. The annual festival is one of the largest of its type in the world and features works that people can enter as well as admire from the outside.

Maura Judkis covers culture, food, and the arts for the Weekend section and Going Out Guide.

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