Chinese Music Ensemble
The name The Jumping Buddha Ensemble comes from
the Chinese "Fo Tiao Qiang", or "The Buddha Jumps Over the
Fence". Literally this is a very famous Chinese dish consisting of several
expensive, unique ingredients not commonly combined into one dish. It is so good
in fact, that Buddha would break from his meditation and jump a fence to eat it.
The music of this recording is quite diverse, comprised of several genres of
Chinese music: ancient, classical, contemporary, folk & minority, as well as
various Asian folk tunes.
1. Viet 2. Nepal 3. Hungry Horse 4.
Tibet 5. Leisure Poem 6. The Monk Thinks About
His Wife 7. Thunder In the Drought 8. Into
Folk Tune 9. Tear River 10. Western Poem (live)
11. Fisherman Song (live) 12. Thunder In The
Drought (live) 13. Reflections.
Jumping Buddha performs the
traditional music of China and uses that foundation to explore new scales,
tonalities, and instrumentations found in a broad range of world music. The name
comes from the Chinese Fo Tiao Qiang (the Buddha Jumps Over the Fence), a famous
dish in Chinese cooking, with such unique elements that the Buddha would break
from meditation and jump over a fence to have an opportunity to enjoy it. Like
the famous dish, the ensemble has its unique elements which allow for a diverse
repertoire that includes ancient Chinese compositions, Cantonese opera, the “silk
bamboo” music of Shanghai, and folk songs from various minority communities of
China as well as other world music forms including the percussion rhythms and
tone colors of the music of India. The core of the ensemble consists of Zhang
Xiao-Feng on erhu (two-stringed violin), Fred Fung on yangqin (hammered
dulcimer), Michael Santoro on dong xiao (vertical bamboo flute) and xun
(ocarina). Zhang graduated from Beijing’s prestigious Central Conservatory of
Music. She was a member of China’s National Traditional Orchestra from 1983
through 1998, had her own Beijing Radio Broadcast Station program, and toured
worldwide with traditional ensembles.
Hong Kong native, Fred Fung, a
graduate of Boston’s Berklee College of Music, is a master of Cantonese
technique and style. Michael is known across the United States for his extensive
knowledge of Chinese musical
repertoire and instruments.
SANTORO, world music Performer/ Producer, is dedicated
toworld music and multi-cultural education. He is one of
the founding Directors of the San Francisco World Music
Festival & President/ Executive Director of Door-Dog
Music Productions, a non-profit organization which produces
the San Francisco World Music Festival. In 1995, he founded
Door-Dog Music Productions (then known as World Music at
Clarion), which presents music of the world through educational
workshops, live concerts, and the first world music venue
in the Bay Area at Clarion Music Center in San Francisco
Chinatown. Additionally, Michael is Program Director of
the Lily Cai Chinese Dance Company.
Michael is currently Artistic
Director of the The Jumping Buddha Ensemble, performing Chinese music on
traditional wind instruments, including the dong xiao (vertical flute), bawu
(transverse flute), and xun (globular ocarina). In addition to his work with the
Jumping Buddha Ensemble, he performs regularly with Cantonese opera musicians
& ensembles throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.
Feng Zhang, one of
the most talented erhu players in the country today, is
ever ready to break the norm. A former member of the prestigious
National Traditional Orchestra of China, the bright-eyed
Chinese musician has performed all over the world with China’s
greatest musicians, as well as the Jumping Buddha Ensemble,
the latest Chinese world music band to come out of San Francisco.
“My goal is to develop new
music, to play with musicians from other countries,” Zhang, 39, says during an
interview at her apartment in Petaluma, Calif., last week. “Erhu is very
beautiful music. Chinese music has a settled form. Now I want to break some
rules ... to develop more interesting new sounds, not just Chinese sounds.”
Since her arrival to the United
States in 1997, Zhang, a 30-year specialist in erhu, is venturing out to
collaborate with the American modern dance scene. Only two weekends ago, she
played erhu for K.J. Holmes & Dancers from New York City at ODC Theater in
the Mission District, where the predominantly white audiences had never heard a
live erhu performance. “People really liked it. They were really impressed,”
she remembers. “The dancers—they sent me cards ... They opened my eyes.
Modern dance is like sculpture. I feel it’s really nice.”
Today, she is an active
performer with the San Francisco based Jumping Buddha Ensemble, which features
several genres of Chinese music brushed with an original world music touch. The
band’s album by the same name, which was recorded in 1998, showcased Zhang’s
musical range and detailed expertise on the erhu.
Zhang remains soft-spoken but
excited as she talks at-length about her career in America, and her upcoming
solo performance concert scheduled for next week at Clarion Music in San
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