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Posts Tagged ‘music’

(Letter from Brian James) Celebrating Yo-Yo Ma: A World Class Musician

December 9th, 2009 No comments

In case you haven’t heard, the multiple Grammy®-winning cellist Yo-Yo Ma, is celebrating his 30th anniversary recording with Sony Music through the release of Yo-Yo Ma: 30 Years Outside the Box, a deluxe limited-numbered box set of his recorded legacy. Comprised of 88 discs of original album releases and an additional two discs of bonus material, 30 Years Outside the Box is the definitive collection of this iconic artist in a presentation as beautiful and timeless as the music itself. It has quickly become a popular gift for the holidays! Read more…

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That which connects panda and ancient Chinese musicians, plus the morin khurr

September 15th, 2009 15 comments
Panda loves bamboo, and so did ancient Chinese musicians. Here is an image of a ceramic xiao () player excavated from an Eastern Han Dynasty (25-220 AD) tomb in Sichuan province (also home to pandas). The dizi (笛子) is held horizontally. Both are made of bamboo. What do you get when you add the Mongolian morin khurr to the mix? Here is a composition involving these instruments: “梦回鄂尔多斯 (Dreaming Ordus).” Ordus (鄂尔多斯) is a city in Inner Mongolia, China.
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Chinese Rock n' Roll!

June 26th, 2009 33 comments

hardqueen81 We’ve done some posts on China and Taiwan music in the past, but those were about the general music scene. Today I’d like to feature two videos created by Brendan Madden, who lives in Qingdao, is a teacher and member of the band Dama Llamas, and keeps up with the scene in northern China. I’ll also feature a few other bands you might not know, and some comments about where I think things are headed.

These two mini-documentaries show the trials and tribulations of trying to establish modern music venues in China. So far, the audience has too many non-Chinese expats along with too few locals, though locals form most of the bands themselves. Right now, Beijing is the hot spot in northern China with the most popular bands in the country. Outside of Beijing, legitimate venues are hard to come by and the money isn’t very lucrative. In these places, rock n’ roll comes strictly from the heart.

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People of the world unite?!

April 25th, 2009 3 comments

Here is a light topic. Since last year’s parody song “Say a word in heart”, singing songs in a foreign language — if you can call it that — has been raised to a totally new level. You’ve probably even heard the stomach-churning subsequent parodies of “Shanghai beach”, “Spicy girl”, and even the Peking Opera standard “Su san qi jie”, but alas this genre has mercifully run its short course.

On the other hand, there are more serious foreign language translations of songs, too. Just today, I discovered really nice versions of translated national anthems. Most anthems tend to be specific to a national consciousness, metrically prosidic, and so difficult to convey well in a different language context, but these two versions are quite good, I thought! What say you?
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Yellow River in Beijing

June 21st, 2008 5 comments

Let’s have a quick flashback to a happier time, when all of us thought 2008 would be a simple year full of celebration. Below is the Chinese piano prodigy Lang Lang, performing the Yellow River Piano Concerto on Tiananmen Square.  The date is 08/08/07, one full year before the start of the Beijing Olympics.

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