Not long ago, China Music House signed strategic cooperation agreements with Jiangsu Kunqu Opera Theater for When Kunqu Meets Bach—- the opening ceremony of Nanjing Forest Music Festival. New rhythms and old singing, classic western instruments and traditional Kunqu music met with each other in various ways and was highly valued by many professionals.
From the official definition, China Music Houselearns from the original music and essence of Chinese traditional opera, based on the carrier of world music with national cultural heritage. At present, it has two plates: China Music House | Kunqu Opera and China Music House |Pingtan. Later, it would bring more opera types and Chinese elements, reaching further to a wilder extent.
The following are the ideas that Lu shared with CMBN:
Folk on the Roadhas a history of five years. The brand has certain influence in the market. Then I focused on China Music House. I think years of peaceful life allows me to choose what I like and put my enthusiasm on it. I don’t like pops. But I like the trend.
China Music House was produced by 13-Month in 2015, combining Chinese traditional opera elements with songs. Now, it has two programs: Kunqu and Pingtan. My mother is an actress of Huangmei Opera. And I knew traditional operas from an early age and had deep love for it. Another reason for choosing opera is that I hope to make a valuable and meaningful wx product. Folk on the Road (by 13-Month) contributes to the development of local folk music, but China Music House wants more young people to know and love opera.
Judging from the half year of performances, all the products are suitable. In terms of the ecological richness of music, the products are also in high demands. In the perspective of musician integration, it needs a platform and outlet for speed and variety.
In fact, there have been people combining traditional music elements with pop. No matter it is added into pop songs or packaging traditional opera with pop, there has been the mix of the two parts. In Europe and North America, many mainstream musicians try to mix Sichuan Opera or Kunqu Opera with modern music. They are very successful and more experienced than the domestic, even having important position in the mainstream market.
China Music House is not only a content brand but also a platform. We have been developing and grinding the details. We are very efficient and cooperate with many electronic musicians to produce their works. As long as they are willing to have Chinese element, they can work with us.
I also talked with Xiaohe about a project. He regarded that the performance of Chinese folk music instrument had problem. It was either traditional or modern. He wanted to compose in a new way and redeployed the function of folk instruments. We would invest music based those ideas.
Traditional opera is not only the expression of melody and words, but also a stage presentation. We found ten ancient stages and ten musicians in Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Shanghai, hoping that every musician could have a special image or set. The plan is progressing smoothly.
As I have repeatedly stressed, we are not alone, but hoping more and more musicians, producers join us, bringing better works and musicians.
Notes from the generation after 90s:
Perception of China Music House: inheritance and propagation
Not long ago, I took part in real show of China Music Housein the Cowan Center in Suzhou.
During the performance, there were lots of claps. However, there were differences between old fans and young audiences. The senior could not accept the cross-border music. Some 50-year-olds shook their heads and said, “They just destroyed Kunqu.” or “How could they perform in this way?” Others even left the scene. In Suzhou, the birthplace of Kunqu and Pingtan, it was very hard for the old fans to accept this new style.
Personally, however, I regard the performance as successful. Innovators need the courage and new things need time to develop. To begin with, in terms of the reaction of the target groups of 13-Month, I noticed that many young people said, “This is very beautiful!”, “It sounds so cool!”
Young people love Jazz and electronic music. When electronic music is mixed with Kunqu harmoniously, the combination becomes a brand new music style. Different from rock and electronic music, Kunqu actors’ slow movements, delicate details, and exquisite makeup create a visual contrast with the lighting and bring young audiences with special audio-visual experience.
Secondly, this performance conveys ideas not only through music but also through body movements and other props. Therefore, I think it’s a complete concept of art.
San Music Collection was presented through three art forms: instrument, voice and dance. Though it is a little unsuitable with the concept of China Music House, it’s a good result in the perspective of global music incubation. The sorrow of cello, the passion of violin, the beat of guitar, the mild of vertical bamboo flute, and the low growl, mix together and express musical feelings in multiple dimensions. With dancers, the performance is more wonderful. Some professionals thought the performance was very charming. And audiences kept their eyes on the dancers.
The most important part of the show is Kunqu, on which most efforts are made of the three sections. It is wonderful on temperament and rhythm. Performers use changeable Zheng to replace string. The addition of trumpet also brings a sense of modernism. In my opinion, the melody of Kunqu is more magnificent than that of Pingtan, so it’s more suitable to modern music.
However, it’s a little regretful that most contents of Kunqu are love stories, which require sentiment. Having white space is a method to deal with emotional issues. If there is a way that contains both music and emotion in the combination of modern and tradition, then the performance of Kunqu will be perfect.
Besides, Jazz Pingtan could have better effect. In the performance, the sound of piano covered that of pipa and Sanxian. And Jazz was not so concordant, which paled the light and spirit of Pingtan. Though it was a sad story, the sound of piano was too thick for Pingtan. Generally, there was room for improvement of music and performance.
As for the artistic creation, subtraction is very important. The blank backgrounds of Chinese traditional opera and simple props are inherited over the years. But they are “eliminated” by young people for not in line with the modern performing style. I think if we keep the essence of tradition and find a way that can be accepted by young people to express emotion in process, there would be a brand new form of art performing.
Best wishes to China Music House. In the next few years, it would bring opera to young people and pass on our great national culture heritage!
(Translator: Ellie; Editor: Chuqian Li)
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