March 17, 2018
Saturday, 8:00 p.m.
New York Society for Ethical Culture
2 W 64th St, Manhattan
Make it a family affair. Bring your kids (14 and under) for $5.00.
Presented in association with Asia Society New York
Recognized as the world’s premier pipa virtuoso, leading ambassador of Chinese music and Grammy Award-nominated musician, Wu Man has carved out a career as a soloist, educator and composer who has given her lute-like instrument (which has a history of over 2,000 years in China) a new role in both traditional and contemporary music. Her collaborations with artists across disciplines have allowed her to reach wider audiences as she works to break through cultural and musical borders. Her work as a member of Yo Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble and her prevalent role in the recent documentary on the ensemble entitled The Music of Strangers has brought her work to the attention of an even larger audience.
Starting in 2007, as part of her planning for the “Ancient Paths, Modern Voices” Festival, Wu Man began traveling regularly to China’s remote regions to uncover the country’s ancient musical traditions that are in danger of being lost, including the traditions of the Huayin Shadow Puppet Band, seen in her 2012 documentary Discovering a Musical Heartland. The Band comprises farmers from Shaanxi Province’s Huayin County in a rural village at the foot of Mount Hua in northwest China. For more than 300 years the Huayin Shadow Puppet Band has toured the countryside, bringing its rugged shadow puppet plays that call to life the mythical heroes and gods of the oral folk culture of Shaanxi, often evoking famous battles of the Tang dynasty (618-907), to temple fairs and rituals.
Wu Man joins the brilliant Huayin Shadow Puppet Band (formerly known as the Zhang Family Band) for performances of old tune traditional music with shadow puppetry. Amid vocal performances, the Huayin Shadow Puppet Band uses the yueqin, banhu, erhu, lute, fiddle and a variety of percussion instruments (including clappers, gongs, cymbals and a wood bench) to tell lively stories of rural life in remote China and draw the audience into places and sounds rarely heard in the West. Wu Man brings the Huayin Shadow Puppet Band to the U.S. for only the second time in an effort to not only preserve this traditional art form, but also show its relevance in our 21st century.
The program features Wu Man performing both solo and with the Band.
Watching the musicians let fly on lutes, fiddles and gongs, as the singers roared through lively ballads recounting folk tales and myths, you were swept up by their energy and charisma.”
— The New York Times
This concert is part of our Origins Series.