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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]

One of Wang's supporters and helpers is established Chinese composer and percussionists Chen Wei, who is a member of the China Oriental Performing Arts Group.

As Chen recalls, he was overwhelmed by seeing a handmade marimba-like instrument at Wang's home in 1995. The unique sound of the instrument attracted Chen and since then, he has written and adapted more than 30 melodies for bamboo instruments.

"We try to pick the most suitable elements for bamboo instruments, whose sound is mild and bright," says Chen, whose compositional pieces, such as Bamboo Sound in Beijing and Mountain Song, will be staged during the upcoming concert.

"Bamboo music is still a new genre, which allows us large space to grow," Chen says.

Shang Lei, who learned percussion since 4 years old with the famous percussionist Liu Guangsi, a professor of Central Conservatory of Music, joined Wang's orchestra as a college student in 1999.

"I was impressed by his instruments, which occupied his home," recalls Shang of her first visit to Wang's home. "One of the biggest challenges of making those bamboo instruments is to solve the problem of cracking since the environment is quite different from the south and north."

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