The "Twelve Girls' Band" is made up of twelve classically trained female musicians. And they're bringing traditional Chinese music to a new audience, not just in China. The band mixes traditional Chinese music with pop, rock and jazz, and uses only Chinese traditional instruments --including the Erhu, Pipa, and Chinese Zithers and Flutes.
In May 2001, Stardisc, a Beijing talent agency, began working on the concept of an all-girl group of traditional musicians. The selection process was arduous. Not only were the candidates required to be exceptionally talented with their instruments, they also had to look as good as they play.
"Twelve Girls' Band" member Lei Ying said: "I was the first to be interviewed and selected. I carried a handful of instruments with me, such as Erhu and one-stringed zither, everything I can play."
Once twelve women were selected, the band was ready to start playing. But problems remained. In those days, the only stage they could find on ships in rivers. But the girls were still enjoying themselves.
In 2001, upon an invitation from China Central Television, Twelve Girls' Band presented renditions of Richard Clayderman's piano classics to a wider audience. The classic Western music flowing out of Chinese traditional instruments caught people by surprise.
The group's real success came in 2002, when they finally stepped onto the stage of Beijing's Century Theatre for a rousing performance. This unique band of music has been gaining more and more attention since then.
The success of their Century Theater show made the girls realize that traditional music could be as popular as pop music. The girls got busy producing music videos.
Their efforts paid off. Various invitations and awards were soon falling into their hands. Meanwhile, Stardisc began setting its sights higher than just China. Soon negotiations led to a contract with a Japanese company.
July 2003 saw the band travel overseas to shoot the music video for Miracle, a track written by a Japanese composer.
Within just two months, the new album sold over one million copies. On their second trip to Japan, the Twelve Girls' Band found themselves under intense scrutiny by local media.
Their most recent performance was at the Beijing Exhibition Center Theater on March nineteenth. This time, their show featured a collection of folk songs from China's West. Twelve Girls' Band's combination of classical pieces with a modern interpretation proved successful once again.
(CCTV November 15, 2005)