2008
Reviews

Le Son de Soie
Liu Fang | Le Son de Soie (Silk Sound)

Accords Croisés • AC 116 • www.accords-croises.com

Traditional music is well served in this varied programme from the Chinese-born pipa and guzheng player, Liu Fang.

In "The king of Chu doffs his armour", austere melodies and brittle downstrokes of her solo pipa (a 4-string lute) narrate the ancient story of the tragic demise of the beloved king of Chu province. In another track that's filled to bursting with rapid muted runs and virtuoso swells, the pipa mimics a spirited competition between three dragon boat teams in "The dragon boat" (a more recent composition from the 1960's.)

Whereas in tracks like "High mountains and rippling waters", and "Autumn moon over the calm lake", the guzheng (a 21-string zither) — with its bright metallic shimmer and piquant treble notes — paints soothing sound pictures of human experience, poised as it is, between the canopy of sky and the enduring earth.

This said, Liu Fang is different, for she dares to play beyond the classic Chinese repertoire to engage in a series of stately, first encounter, duo improvisations.

So we find that "Primary meeting"'s frailing pipa is accompanied by the buoyant, traveling vamp of Ballaké Sissoko's African kora (resonating stringed gourd). "Jasmine flower" is a distillate of dry pipa tone and human breath blown through the sweet-toned Hindustani bansouri (flute) of Henri Tournier, and in "A walk in the country of dreams", Alla's Algerian oud (lute) converses simply with Fang's pipa in a world of calm, clear air.

Liu Fang's ambition has delivered her to a trouble-free zone of lento tempos and rich sonorities where happily met musical minds play easily in a world of artistic suggestion.

by David Fujino March 2008

The tracks
1. High mountains and rippling waters (Hautes montagnes et eaux ruisselantes)
2. Jasmine flower (Fleur de jasmin)
3. The king of Chu doffs his armour (Le roi de Chu se défait de son armure)
4. Primary meeting (Première rencontre)
5. The dragon boat (Le bateau dragon)
6. Gold-embroidered tapestry (Tapisserie brodée d'or)
7. Kanding love song (Une chanson d'amour de Kanding)
8. Autumn moon over the calm lake (Lune d'automne sur lac calme)
9. Light wind in a cloud of falling snowflakes (Brise dans une pluie de flocons)
10. Autumn moon over the Han Imperial Palace (Lune d'automne sur le palais de l'empereur des Han)
11. A walk in the country of dreams (Promenade au pays des reves)
The players
Liu Fang — pipa, guzheng
Alla — oud
Ballaké Sissoko — kora
Henri Tournier — bansouri flute
We welcome your comments and feedback
David Fujino
• • • • • •
The Live Music Report
davidfujino@thelivemusicreport.com
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