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Musicians Keep Current with Traditional Influences
   2016-01-26 17:41:17    CRIENGLISH.com      Web Editor: Shen Siling

In Side Out (Mark Levine and Fu Han) play a collection of country-folk songs to a rapt audience atthe World Culture Open's W Stage. Photo taken January 23, 2016. [Photo: CRIENGLISH.COM]

Music is a conduit across language barriers, drawing people from distant (or not so distant) cultures together. This past Saturday, music did just that at an intimate concert held at the World Culture Open's W Stage, in Beijing. Music Will Unite Us All was the event's title, and it easily proved its aim.

Five musicians gathered to share their instruments and their music. Huang Jianli, a professor from Shenyang University, began with some beautiful traditional songs played on a jinghu. He introduced his instrument, talking perhaps a tiny bit too long before finally diving into a musical number. His songs were beautiful, transporting listeners to a forgotten time.

Huang was also joined by Guo Yang, who played a few wind instruments, including one crafted by his own hand. He played passionately in a new age style that was well-received by the audience. 
Li Zirui accompanied the two on a keyboard, showing impressive command of his instrument, as well as impressive restraint.

In Side Out is a two-piece band, where contrast is key. Mark Levine is a grey bearded, cowboy hat-topped country folk singer who plunks away on an acoustic guitar. His partner, garbed in a bright traditional Chinese minority group gown and hat, is the young Fu Han who plays her erhu. The two play American country-folk songs penned by Levine, but Fu Han adds a distinctive Chinese folk flavor. The songs themselves aim to bring people together, to show that the distance between two cultures isn't so great. Cynics may call the music facile, but the songs and their aspirations have proven their draw: the duo's been billed for high profile events such as CCTV's Super Star Avenue.

In Side Out played to a rapt audience before they left the stage so that Huang Jianli, Guo Yang and Li Zirui could wrap up the event with a quick jam session.

Huang Jianli plays traditional Chinese music at the World Culture Open event, Music Will Unite Us All. The event took place January 23, 2016 at Beijing's W Stage.  [Photo: CRIENGLISH.COM]

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