Home / Entertainment / News Tools: Save | Print | E-mail | Most Read | Comment
Ancient Farming Songs from Qingpu
Adjust font size:

Ancient farming songs are still being sung in the fields of Shanghai suburban Qingpu District. Hear them tomorrow night, along with contemporary music. French violinist Didier Lockwood and his band stage a concert combining Chinese instruments and jazz next week.

Shanghai is one of the most modernized cities in the world but farmers in the suburban Qingpu District are still singing a traditional farming songs passed down from ancient times.

The Shanghai Chinese Music Orchestra will invite four girls from Qingpu to sing the songs tomorrow during a concert, "Reechoes of Shanghai."

"The Qingpu farming songs were loud, bright-toned and reverberant. They were created by farmers when they worked in the fields some 400 years ago," says music critic Wang Shu from the Shanghai Conservatory of Music. He conducted research into Qingpu field songs last year.

"I was amazed by their stunning songs, which could compete with Tibetan folk songs," says Wang. "Now the local government is trying to preserve this cultural relic and popularize the singing in primary schools."

Wang Fujian, head of the Shanghai Chinese Music Orchestra, says the orchestra will serve as a background for the four Qingpu girls.

"We will try to recreate the greenish watery fields of Qingpu and a rhythm of farming work with our music," adds Wang, who is also the concert's conductor and a professor of Chinese folk music.

Apart from accompanying the field songs, the orchestra will play some Chinese contemporary music.

"Both some Chinese composers and Western audiences have a stereotype of Chinese music as 'very sweet, bustling or shallow,"' says Wang. "It's not true. There is some very mature, deep and inspiring contemporary Chinese music which fully shows the charm of Chinese instruments but uses Western composing methods."

The orchestra will play Tan Dun's erhu (a two-stringed, bowed fiddle) concerto Fire Ritual, Tang Jianping's pipa (a plucked string instrument with a fretted fingerboard) concerto Spring and Autumn.

"Fire Ritual' is a very deep masterpiece that pays homage to the victims of the Nanjing Massacre in 1937. It is an amazing mixture of the human voice and the orchestra, a calling for the souls and a prayer for peace," says Wang.

Famous flutist Tang Junqiao will play a solo titled Conflux. She won acclaim for her performance in the soundtrack of Ang Lee's Oscar-winning film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

The repertoire also includes compositions incorporating local opera elements and jazz. A composition titled "Neo-Shanghai Night" will begin with jazz rhythm and involve saxophone and jazz drums.

Next Tuesday, French violinist Didier Lockwood will stage a concert that combines Chinese instruments and jazz. His six-piece ensemble will cooperate with Chinese erhu player Ma Xianghua and saxophonist Jin Hao.

Lockwood has had a diverse career, ranging from fusion to swing and advanced hard bop. In the 1980s, he was considered the next in a line of great French violinists after Stephane Grappelli and Jean-Luc Ponty. Lockwood began studying violin when he was six but stopped his formal training and joined a rock group 10 years later.

He played in Paris with Aldo Romano and Daniel Humair, among others, met Grappelli and toured with him. He had a fusion group called Surya and recorded with Tony Williams.

Lockwood band's and Chinese musicians will play novel compositions ranging from Starting Block, Snow Mood to Juggling in Central Park.
(Shanghai Daily May 18, 2007)

Tools: Save | Print | E-mail | Most Read
Pet Name
China Archives
Related >>
Most Viewed >>