Jumping Buddha Ensemble

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.
Total 56:02

Jumping Buddha Ensemble

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.


MICHAEL 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.

Xiao 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 Francisco’s Chinatown.

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