HK musician starts Beijing World Music Week

By Chen Nan ( China Daily ) Updated: 2014-04-11 09:44:41
HK musician starts Beijing World Music Week

Franco-Congolese pianist Ray Lema is one of the headliners in the upcoming Beijing World Music Week. Photo provided to China Daily


HK musician starts Beijing World Music Week

Showing their brass

HK musician starts Beijing World Music Week

Stradivarius viola set to make world record

One of Asia's foremost jazz pioneers has turned his focus to world music, and he says audiences can expect an exciting melding of musical styles. Chen Nan reports.

Peter Lee Kai-kwan started the first Jazz Festival in Hong Kong in 1987 and has played an integral role in building the profile of the music across Asia ever since. Now Lee, the founder of the Hong Kong Jazz Association, is devoting his energy to boosting the profile of world music. Working with Tree Music, an indie music label based in Beijing, Lee has taken on the role of artistic director to launch the first Beijing World Music Week, which will see six bands from five countries share the stage. Headliners are The Ray Lema Quintet from France, gypsy violinist Kim Angelis from the United States and Swing Shine, a French and Chinese duo. "In today's world, when people can fill up their stomachs, they can also fill their minds with more culture and art," Lee says.

Lee says jazz music has always been strongly influenced by ethnic sounds from Africa, Asia and beyond. He points out that the definition of world music has been evolving ever since the phrase was coined in the early '90s by the British indie record labels. However, it is an inadequate label for such a wide range of musical styles.

"Nowadays, the most significant identity of this kind of music is the innovative, creative and groundbreaking aspect. But world music is more than that," Lee says. "While jazz music demonstrated the idea of harmony, world music certainly can lead us into a deeper sense of awareness. Through the music of each nation and tribe, we can walk in its cultural roots and customs, and begin to respect, appreciate and accept each other," he says.

In selecting bands to participate, Lee looks for music that has been influenced by more than one culture and musical genre, and music that is easily accessible to audiences of all ages.

Jiang Shu, founder and director of Tree Music, who organized Moma Post Mountain Music and Art Festival last October in Beijing, says nearly all the bands set to perform at the upcoming Beijing World Music Week, are visiting China for the first time.

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