New sounds for ancient instrument

By Chen Nan ( China Daily ) Updated: 2014-04-21 07:29:45

New sounds for ancient instrument

Photo provided to China Daily

At 15, he joined China National Orchestra and started playing ruan. He didn't immediately love the instrument because the ruan was just an accompanying instrument in the orchestra and he felt his talent was constrained there.

New sounds for ancient instrument

French classics in 'Paris of the Orient' 

New sounds for ancient instrument

Showing their brass 

Then he formed a rock band, White Angel, in 1987, along with Liu Yijun, and Zang Tianshuo. In 1989, the band released an album Rock in the Past and the same year, Cui Jian, the Chinese godfather of rock 'n' roll, became an iconic figure among Chinese rock fans.

"I had long hair and rushed to rehearse with the band after work every day and I was happy," he recalls. "I was totally unacceptable in the eyes of my father and my colleagues in the orchestra."

His pioneering practice in rock music also inspired his research on traditional Chinese music and ruan.

When he was invited to perform on a popular TV show on China Central Television, Amazing Chinese, he sang an iconic song by Cui Jian, Girl in The Flower Room, on his ruan. The performance was a big success and Feng joked that he became a star at age 52.

"I feel proud of my son. He has surpassed me," says his 75-year-old father.

"When I went backstage the first time, many people asked me what the instrument was. That made be feel like I had made the right choice," Feng says.

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