To see in the Chinese New Year, me and Phil went to see a traditional Chinese music concert at the Midland Arts Centre (MAC) yesterday evening. The Jasmine Moon Ensemble played a selection of folk songs from across China, as well as more modern songs in the traditional style and a handful of film scores. They also played a piece based on the soundtrack to a propaganda cartoon from the 1960s, called Heroic Little Sisters of the Grassland, which was a particular favourite of mine. The cartoon itself is available on YouTube, the link below is to the dramatic climax where the sisters manage to brave a storm to rescue their collective farm’s flock of sheep:
The ensemble play piano, Guzheng, and a selection of Chinese woodwind instruments. One of the Chinese wind instruments, the húlúsī, was particularly unusual, with a gourd at the top of the instrument. To my (untrained) ears it had a nice folky sound and, of course, it has a nice folky look too:)
The Guzheng (古箏) is also a very traditional instrument. It is a large stringed instrument and, to me, looked abominably difficult to play. But then, to me, any instrument would be!
I’d definitely recommend seeing the Jasmine Moon Ensemble in action if you get chance. If you can’t see them in person you can watch them online (minus the Guzheng) below: