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The melody of our heritage

By Wang Ru | China Daily | Updated: 2021-03-09 07:56

Liu, accompanied by a teacher at the Confucius Institute in Leipzig, Germany, displays the beauty and elegance of the pipa in 2019. [Photo provided to China Daily]

To make this work, Liu paid field trips to Dunhuang several times, and got to know many touching stories in Dunhuang. "I try to express what I feel about Dunhuang in the form of music, and hope to bring people to the place when they listen to this music," says Liu.

To make her videos more attractive, she also learned other art forms like dancing and acting. On that basis, she made a video series showing war heroes of Chinese history, trying to show a glorious time in each hero's life.

For example, she made Prince Lanling in Battle, a work about Gao Changgong, or the prince of Lanling of the Northern Qi Dynasty (550-577), who led about 500 warriors to end the siege of Jinyong, an important city, against about 100,000 enemy soldiers in 564 and achieved a famous victory.

"It is said Gao was sent a cup of poisonous wine later from his cousin, the emperor, who was suspicious that Gao would overthrow him one day, and died. So I want to show a glorious time in his life-the moment when he just drank the poisonous wine and retrospected his life before death," says Liu.

"I guess during the time what was on his mind was not the political tactics, but the moment when he led the soldiers to fight bravely for their country," she adds.

She shows the story in the video, in which she plays Gao drinking the wine, while musician Wang Jia'nan playing Gao who was on the battlefield in his imagination. Liu and Wang play several kinds of drums and pipa to create the feeling of a fierce fight. Finally, with the strong sound of a drum, Gao, played by Liu, falls on the ground and dies.

"I integrate some drama elements in the video. The clothes and decorations shown in the video are made strictly according to pottery figurines and murals unearthed from the tomb of emperor Gao Yang, an uncle of Gao Changgong."

The video has received nearly 10 million views on the internet. "I'm amazed at the combination of pipa and drums. When I listen to this music, I am brought back to the battlefield, as if seeing numerous cavalrymen rush forward, and listening to the sound of battle drums, halberds, hooves and shouting," says Yunxi, a user of Chinese online video-sharing platform Bilibili.

According to Liu Hongbo, a work aide to Liu Jing, high standards and a vision are key. "Out of her immense love for traditional music, Liu Jing has high standards for her works, and has devoted much time and effort into each of them. She hopes the traditional music culture can spread to more people in the modern era with the help of the internet."

According to Liu Jing, her visits to many museums and historical sites have given her many inspirations in creating her works.

"In the future, I want to cooperate with more museums, and try to tell the stories of cultural relics in my musical works, so that people enjoy the beauty of both Chinese music and cultural relics, and appreciate Chinese culture," says Liu Jing.

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