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News Hour (US): Chinese pipa player

Desert Dancer 20 Nov 09 - 12:49 PM
GUEST,iancarterb 21 Nov 09 - 11:29 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 21 Nov 09 - 03:18 PM
GUEST,Tunesmith 21 Nov 09 - 03:30 PM
Jack Campin 21 Nov 09 - 07:29 PM
katlaughing 21 Nov 09 - 07:46 PM
Desert Dancer 21 Nov 09 - 11:43 PM
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Subject: News Hour (US): Chinese pipa player
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 20 Nov 09 - 12:49 PM

Last night on the NewsHour (PBS), they had a segment about the Chinese pipa artist, Wu Man. (The pipa is a 4-stringed lute-like instrument.) She is a virtuoso on the instrument, having been forced to start playing this very traditional classical Chinese instrument as a child. Now in her 40s, she is having a great time crossing into many genres of eastern and western music, including having discovered her own country's folk music.

It was a fun segment -- including a bawdy Chinese folk song, and it and more is available online at the NewsHour site, here.

The question of the hour from me and some other commenter on the story is what kind of fingerpicks she uses... the instrument is played with the backs of the nails, like clawhammer banjo. During the segment it said false nails are used, but we're wondering if the interviewer was wrong?

~ Becky in Long Beach


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Subject: RE: News Hour (US): Chinese pipa player
From: GUEST,iancarterb
Date: 21 Nov 09 - 11:29 AM

I'm betting it was correct. I know guitar fingerpickers who call weekly application of new fingernails of some kind of swell plastic a business expense. The technique looked like a guitar rasqueado similar to flamenco technique.
But apart from technique- what a great musician and human being! There must be an astonishing gold mine for ethnomusicologists in China:) Thanks for posting the link- I meant to go there after the News Hour to see the additional material, even though by TV news standards it was an epic already (that only takes more than a minute:fifteen).
I can't wait for some great collaboration of Wu Man with, say, Yo Yo Ma, Mark O'Connor and Ry Cooder!
Carter


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Subject: RE: News Hour (US): Chinese pipa player
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 21 Nov 09 - 03:18 PM

Liu Fang, a fine pipa player, recorded an album of pipa music, "Chinese Traditional Pipa Music," Oliver Sudden Productions (CD available from amazon.ca).
The last I heard, she was resident in Canada. Before coming to Canada, she was pipa soloist with the Kunming Orchestra for Chinese Music. She uses picks on the fingers of her right hand (attached to the fingers by 'rings').
She has recorded a number of cds, sadly out of print, but available from used dealers, premium prices.

The Chinese composer, Tan Dun, uses Chinese folk and classical music in his operas and compositions. His composition, "The Map," was performed at Xiangxi, in western Hunan. The DVD of the performance, with a fine documentary film of several kinds of traditional music, is excellent.
See Amazon, Crotchet, Europadisc etc. for listings of Tan Dun's operas, which include pieces based on traditional music.


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Subject: RE: News Hour (US): Chinese pipa player
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 21 Nov 09 - 03:30 PM

I studied the pi'pa for a while. The basic right hand techique is like a flamenco rasguedo but played on one string and starting with the index finger.


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Subject: RE: News Hour (US): Chinese pipa player
From: Jack Campin
Date: 21 Nov 09 - 07:29 PM

And that bawdy song by the village folksinger was delivered with a gloriously exhilarating sense of fun. Anyone know what it was about?


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Subject: RE: News Hour (US): Chinese pipa player
From: katlaughing
Date: 21 Nov 09 - 07:46 PM

That was really neat, Becky! Thanks!


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Subject: RE: News Hour (US): Chinese pipa player
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 21 Nov 09 - 11:43 PM

I was hoping they'd tell us more about the bawdy song online, but no luck!

~ B in LB


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