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The bamboo way

By Chen Nan | China Daily | Updated: 2018-03-24 11:22

Wang Wei, a former bassist with Beijing-based China Oriental Performing Arts Group, started learning and researching about Chinese musical instrument made of bamboo in early 1990s. He has launched the country's first bamboo orchestra, which is going to give a show in Beijing on April 22.[Photo by Wang Jing/China Daily]

Besides live performances, he is also the curator of an ongoing exhibition, where more than 100 bamboo instruments are on display in Beijing. In 2014, Wang has held a similar bamboo instruments exhibition at the National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing.

"Comparing with Western classical music, Chinese audience pay less attention to traditional Chinese instruments. But once you take the ancient instruments seriously, and look at them carefully, you will be fascinated and start to appreciate their beauty," Wang says.

He also notes that the country boasts more than 500 kinds of bamboo and the hollow, treelike grass that exist in southern parts of the country.

Bamboo is a main material for Chinese ethnic groups from the south, such as Yunnan, Guizhou and Hainan provinces, to make instruments. Wang has collected a variety of those instruments and visited those ethnic musicians, some of whom are inheritors of instruments listed on the National Intangible Cultural Heritage.

"Those instruments are rarely seen by the urban audiences. To popularize these instruments, we tried to adapt some world-famous pieces," says Wang.

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