Among the traditional Chinese musical instruments, the pipa and the erhu are probably the most renowned both in China and abroad. The pipa is a stringed instrument that belongs to the family of lutes. Often described as the Chinese ‘violin’, the erhu belongs to the fiddle family. Both instruments, used also in ensembles, have large solo repertoires.
The genre presented in this CD is called Jiangnan sizhu, literally “the Jiangnan silk and bamboo.” “Silk” and “bamboo” indicate, respectively, the stringed instruments, whose strings were of silk in the past, and flutes, whose main material is the bamboo. Such ensembles are widespread in various parts of South China. Jiangnan indicates the area corresponding roughly to the portion of land that includes major cities in South-West China like Shanghai, Nanjing (Nanking) and Hangzhou. Sizhu music, often used for ritual purposes in the past, today it is practiced primarily by non-professional groups, typically in the tea houses, but it is played and admired by artists trained in conservatories. The pipa and the erhu, the protagonists of this CD, are fundamental instruments of this kind of ensembles. Listening to this disc allows you to fully appreciate the specificities of the two instruments. The pipa has a number of expressive techniques, among which tremolo (ie rapid repetition of a single note), overtones and moderate - but incisive - percussive elements; the erhu enchants with its singing melodies, imitating the human voice.
Lingling YU, a virtuoso pipa player, was born in the city of Hangzhou, in the south-east of China. In 1988, after her studies in the Conservatory, together with her master Dehai Liu, the most important pipa player, she travelled throughout China with her favorite instrument, teaching and giving public performances. Dehai LIU exerted a great influence on Lingling YU’s musical evolution. Her performing style, combined with an exceptional mastery of all the techniques of the instrument, is powerful, clear, warm and creative, characterized by brightness and delicacy. To explore the links between western and eastern music, she settled in Switzerland in 1998. In 2009 she release her first CD with Felmay titles Xu Lai. GUO Gan was born in Shenyang in northern China. He comes from a family of musicians and was attracted to the erhu very early on. From 1991 to 1994, Guo Gan performed in recital with his erhu and percussion groups, and played for the dance and theater companies. In 2001, GUO Gan decided to move to Paris to enlarge his musical experience and enrolled in the Ecole Nationale de Musique where he continued his training in jazz percussion. In the last years he has played and recorded with Gabriel Yared, Yvan Cassar, Didier Lockwood and Armand Amar among others, becoming the ambassador of the erhu in Europe.
Lingling Yu's photo in the booklet is by Wernimont Michel
YU Lingling & GUO Gan from Felmay Shop
Lingling YU - pipa GUO Gan - erhu
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