Sound of Dragon Music Festival is Vancouver’s first festival devoted to “Chinese music”, showcasing very diverse musical styles: ancient folk and classical repertoire, contemporary compositions, jazz, world, fusion, and avant-garde improvisation in solo, chamber, and orchestral performances. While presenting authentic traditional music, the festival promotes creativity and innovation in imaginative new ensembles and projects, utilizing unusual cross-cultural instrumentations. By presenting musicians, ensembles and composers from different ethnicities, nationalities, and musical genres, Sound of Dragon re-defines “Chinese music” and reflects Vancouver’s growing multicultural environment, representing a highly creative music scene.
Traveling freely between composed and improvised worlds, Proliferasian is a unique voice rising from the west coast of Canada. The band encompasses both rhythmic accuracy and the fluidity and spontaneity in creative improvisation. The intricately composed materials provide the structures and frameworks, while the graphic symbols leave much freedom for interpretation. Proliferasian may take inspiration from Asian music, literature, landscape, legends, or paintings, but its music will definitely break any preconceptions of Asian cultures.
Lan Tung – erhu & voice, JP Carter – trumpet & effects, Dave Chokroun – bass, Kevin Romain – drums.
In improvised music, Lan finds a common ground where her various trainings and influences can come together to create a new language. The sounds of the East and the West, contemporary and traditional, all enter and exit the canvas freely from time to time. Through improvisation, Lan meets with musicians from different musical backgrounds, which has inspired many trips to study and perform different musical genres and traditions, and led to numerous collaborations at home and aboard. Most of the trips have been sponsored by the Canada Council for the Arts and/or the BC Arts Council. Recent trips include the Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany, India, Egypt…etc.
Lan enjoys the freedom to step outside traditional aesthetics to explore new possibilities. At the same time, she takes inspiration from Asian music in a contemporary framework. The two worlds continue to meet, interact and transform into each other in various ways in her musical experiences.
from the left: John Butcher – saxophone, Art Bull – harmonica, Darren Williams – bassoon (Vancouver Jazz Festival)
Lan Tung performs erhu concerto by Canadian and Chinese composers with symphony orchestras.
“remarkable ability to shape tone, vibrato, and slight pitch variations into an astonishing package of rich, musical colour”. – Jeff Reilly, Producer, CBC Radio
“Very well played, it is a quite exquisite musical experience. The piece should be played again and again and also recorded for the pleasure of all.” – Mireille Gagne, Director, Canadian Music Centre (Directrice, Centre de Musique Canadienne)
Lan Tung as the soloist rehearsed with Symphony Nova Scotia, conducted by Bernhard Gueller
Combining graphic notation and conduction gestures with traditional staff notation, these compositions enable large ensembles to improvise together. The instrumentation for the ensemble is flexible. It can cross different genres from classical chamber ensemble, jazz band, to Chinese and inter-cultural orchestras. Lan’s music for this project often draws inspiration from Asia. She breaks down materials from traditional music and re-assembles them in a contemporary framework, mixing with different styles.
Lan Tung (left) and Coat Cooke (right) with the Little Giant Chinese Chamber Orchestra of Taiwan,
conducted by Chih-Sheng Chen. photo by Alistair Eagle. Concert presented by the Vancouver Inter-Cultural Orchestra in Vancouver.
Established in 1997, the JUNO nominated Orchid Ensemble blends ancient musical instruments and traditions from China and beyond, creating a beautiful new sound. The ensemble has embraced a variety of musical styles to its repertoire, ranging from the traditional and contemporary music of China, World Music, New Music to Jazz and Creative Improvisation. In addition to tours across North America, the ensemble regularly collaborates with artists from various backgrounds, commissions new works from Canadian and US composers, and integrate music with multimedia, dance and scenographic installation through annual productions.
The Orchid Ensemble has released two CDs: Road to Kashgar won a 2005 JUNO Awards nomination, Heartland won multiple nominations at 2001 Westcoast Music Awards.
Lan Tung – erhu & vocals, Yu-Chen Wang – zheng, Jonathan Bernard – percussion
More info at the ensemble’s comprehensive website: www.orchidensemble.com
Birds of Paradox was formed in 2007 to explore the fusion of composition and improvisation, incorporating three very distinct voices and cultural backgrounds into a creative whole. Guitarist Ron Samworth is an inventive textural improviser and a strong fluid melodicist, informed and inspired by a variety of music traditions including jazz, rock, new music and folk music of many cultures. Lan Tung creates new vocabularies on the erhu/Chinese 2-string violin, drawing inspiration from her background in Chinese music and various other genres: from creative improvisation, western contemporary music to various ethnic styles, such as Indian, Flamenco and Middle Eastern. Neelamjit Dhillon is equally versed as a tabla player in Hindustani classical music and as a jazz musician on the saxophone. Its debut CD Birds of Paradox has been nominated for Western Canadian Music Award and Independent Music Awards. More info at www.birdsofparadox.com
The Vancouver Inter-Cultural Orchestra is unique in the world, and uniquely Canadian. It is one of the first concert orchestras in existence that bring together musicians trained in a wide variety of cultural disciplines, to perform new inter-cultural works on a grand scale. In the VICO, violins and flutes rub shoulders with the shakuhachi, the erhu and the sitar.and fertile ground is created for cross-cultural teamwork between classical, jazz and world music artists. Boasting a core roster of 24 musicians and at least as many occasional members, some are trained in the Western (European) classical tradition, while many others are internationally-recognized performers in the musical traditions of cultures from all over the world (Asian, African, East Indian and Middle Eastern, to name only a few).
The VICO provides composers who are passionate about fusing genres and musical traditions with an amazing palette of sounds and musical forms. The possibilities are endless! World premieres of new commissions are routinely part of the VICO’s performance schedule, and the orchestra is continually seeking out new opportunities for outreach and collaboration with different individuals and communities. www.vi-co.org
An ensemble that sounds like how Vancouver looks, it’s diverse repertoire is drawn from Jewish, Persian, Taiwanese, Vietnamese and Chinese music. This band is comprised of some of Vancouver’s most active musicians in the world music scene: Moshe Denburg on guitar, Ali Razmy on tar, Jonathan Bernard on percussion, Lan Tung on erhu (Chinese 2-string violin), and Bic Hoang on danbau (Vietnamese 1-string zither). They are also singers, creating an unusual mix of ethnic vocal styles.
The VICO Small Ensemble is formed to represent the VICO at festivals and events when it’s not feasible to have the full orchestra on stage. The musicians of the Small Ensemble are also members of the orchestra. They represent the different cultural backgrounds where VICO musicians have come from.
Tandava is inspired by the folk and classical music of India and Bangladesh, and draws upon the wealth of musical traditions from China, the Middle East, Africa, and the West. Tabla and polyphonic marimba provide the rhythmic and textural foundation for Lan’s erhu, Prashant Michael John’s flutes, guitar, and vocals to soar over. Original compositions, dynamic improvisation, and arrangements of traditional styles bridge the ancient and the contemporary. Among Vancouver’s most successful world music artists, the members of Tandava are trained in Carnatic, Hindustani, Chinese, and Western classical traditions. For CBC Newsworld, Adrian Harewood described the quartet as “a metaphor for Canada in the 21st century”. Tandava’s unique blend of instruments, musical sensibilities, and ethnic traditions results in an original voice, created from and reflecting our rich intercultural environment.
Stefan Cihelka – tabla, Jonathan Bernard – percussion, Prashant M. John – flutes, vocals & guitars, Lan Tung – erhu & vocals
More info at www.tandava.com
A cultural exploration of the Chinese Immigrant experience through music, dance and interactive multimedia Triaspora incorporates Asian traditions with contemporary expression, filling the theatres with an exhilarating mix of style, movement and sound. Triaspora draws on numerous insightful interviews from different generations of Chinese Canadians, while examining the search for cultural identity and social acceptance.
Triaspora reflects the crossing of three disciplines – music, dance and multimedia, and incorporates the three themes – fire, water and travel. Water, which at one time covered Vancouver’s Chinatown and carried the immigrants to this “new” country, symbolizes their emergence from a repressed world to a new frontier. Like water, which changes its form in natural cycles, the Chinese community continues to transform and renew with each generation. The fire that burned down Nanaimo’s Chinatown in 1960 is also a symbol of rebirth. Traveling is a familiar reality for the immigrant generation. Canada’s economic lifeline – highway 401 and Steve Reich’s famous composition Different Trains inspired the music for the final theme.
The Ghost Project explores the philosophy of yin and yang to search for a connection between humans and the spirits, expressed through abstraction and suggestion. The music combines the modes, rhythms, and interlocking patterns in Indonesian
gamelan music, with the lyrical phrasings and breath in Chinese music, and the harmonies and precision in western music. Animated visuals and Chinese calligraphy are projected on seven screens to provide a mysterious backdrop.
Animation/Media Performance/Scenography/Costume design Aleksandra Dulic
Media Arts/ Multi-instruments Kenneth Newby
Javanese dancer/Multi-instruments Sutrisno Hartana
“In an intoxicating combination that blends the best of two distinct cultures, the Café de Chinitas project combines the sultry exoticism of China and the fiery passion of Spain. Together, they form a classic “East meets West” scenario, but delivered in an art form that’s entirely all its own. This is essentially a blending of traditional Spanish flamenco with an Asian flair. The Mosaico Flamenco Dance Theatre, home of the project for the past few years, is thrilled to showcase its dancers’ talents within the exotic music of the Orchid Ensemble, exemplifying the theatre’s philosophy of embracing cultural diversity. Their dancers come from a range of ethnic backgrounds including Spanish, Mexican, English, Chinese, and Filipino, and they bring to the project a wonderful combination of the highest level of artistic collaboration”. Georgia Straight
Oscar Nieto & Kasandra Lea & Mozaico Flamenco Dance Theatre, Flamenco guitar – Peter Mole