Mixture of Tradition and Modernity
2003-9-2 17:07:02      CRIENGLISH.com
Hello, everyone. Welcome to this edition of China Beat, a musical tour brought to you by China Radio International to introduce today's China's most exciting contemporary music.

Many Chinese people are familiar with this song, Make A Phone Call, as it became popular throughout the country right after its debut performance at the CCTV Spring Festival Gala Party in 2000. But few people know that the song is by Bian Liunian, a musician enjoying great fame in Chinese contemporary music circles.

Born in east China's Nanjing City, Bian Liunian started learning music when he was in primary school. Later, he entered the Nanjing Arts Institute, majoring in studies of the erhu, a two-string bowed instrument. Upon graduation, he joined the Oriental Song and Dance Ensemble, one of the most famous performing troupes in China, and began to study the electric guitar and musical composition. Later, after developing a strong interest in MIDI music production, he composed and readapted nearly 1,000 pieces of music. Many of his pop songs have become very popular across the country.

That was Rhapsody of West China, performed by famous Chinese pop singers Xie Xiaodong and Na Ying. Bian Liunian hopes to give wings of modernity to traditional Chinese tunes and has made many such experiments. Sometimes an ancient legend is the inspiration for him to create an exciting musical work. The song we'll hear next is such an example. The story of the Foolish Old Man Removing the Mountains commends the dauntless and persevering spirit of the Chinese people. Let's see how the musician tries to express this in his music.

In addition to being a successful pop musician, he also distinguished himself through his early experiments in readapting traditional music and composing new folk music.

Many people in China will be able to recognize this melody from southwest China's Yunnan Province, but they may be surprised by its novel rearrangement. In the piece, Bian Liunian brings out the beauty of the melody and produces a unique acoustic effect with the use of the horse-head fiddle, the most widely used instrument of the Mongolian ethnic group in the north.

Of course, the erhu is the instrument that is featured most in Bian Liunian's music. With a solid foundation in traditional music, and armed with an array of creative and novel ideas, he seldom composes music in the traditional way. Take Moon Reflection on Two Springs as an example. The piece, composed by a blind folk artist, is regarded as one of the most representative works for the erhu. Bian Liunian took his own unorthodox approach in adapting it.


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