5 Chinese Musical Acts to Celebrate Chinese New Year
Celebrate Chinese New Year Keeping Tradition Alive
One of the most popular celebrations at a global level is around the corner and here at Scarlett Entertainment we’re more than ready for it. The Chinese New Year’s celebrations kick off on January 25th, 2020, and we’re looking forward to welcoming the year of the rat.
One of the most popular cultural events among our clients, every year we’re contacted by dozens of event planners worldwide looking for Chinese entertainment. Chinese New Year is definitely an occasion in which tradition plays an important role, meaning many opt for traditional and well-known options such as Lion Dancers. However, on this occasion, we’d like to explore Chinese musical acts that could contribute to keeping tradition alive on such a significant date.
Curious Facts About China’s Musical Tradition
1. It is believed Chinese music is older than Chinese writing
Chinese music’s origins are attributed to the Yellow Emperor (Huangdi) by Chinese ancient literature. Huangdi lived more than 4,000 years ago, and it is believed he requested a necromancer called Lun to develop a sound system. However, a group of archaeologists claim they found China’s oldest instruments in a Neolithic settlement in Jiahu: a set of flutes made of animal bones, which are believed to be over 8,000 years old.
2. Chinese traditional music is associated with religion and philosophy
As in every culture, music is closely linked to religious rites and philosophic trends. Just to put a few examples, Confucius’ followers believed that music played an important role in China’s political life and contributed to bring the nation together and promote the country’s spiritual enrichment; Taoists believed music was a key element in the fusion of man and nature; and Buddhists believe music helps them understand the essence of the universe. Therefore, for thousands of years, music has been an integral part in the lives of Chinese people.
3. Chinese music is often compared to nature’s sounds
China’s traditional music is characterised by a slow rhythm and calm pace. Often accompanied by sounds that are similar to the ones we appreciate in nature, it doesn’t come as a surprise that today’s Chinese music is normally used when we undertake any activity that involves relaxation such as spa sessions.
5 Chinese Musical Acts You Can’t Miss
If you would like to explore China’s traditional music, you will soon find out that many pieces celebrate moonlight and plum blossoms, may others chronicle battles or wars or are based on tragic affairs between emperors and concubines.
Whatever the case, only by briefly listening to them you can realise how even a solo instrument has the power to thrill. Over the years, Chinese traditional music has evolved and become more complex and virtuosic. Instruments such as the pipa and guzheng are favourites among modern composers.
As for traditional Chinese musicians, we’ve put together a list of our five favourite Chinese musical acts to celebrate Chinese New Year and celebrate 2020 keeping tradition alive (curious fact: most of them are women!).
Instrument she plays: the Guqin and the Guzheng (also known as the Chinese zither) are a seven-string Chinese musical instrument of the zither family and plucked string instrument with a more than 2,500-year history, respectively. Two of the most prestigious instruments of China, philosophers claim they help cultivate character, understand morality, communicate with the gods and enrich learning, among others.
The artist: This outstanding and versatile Chinese musician can play both instruments and delight listeners with authentic Chinese sounds. A beautiful display of tradition and heritage, this traditional Chinese musician’s performance doesn’t require amplification and is perfect for creating an oriental backdrop at events celebrating the new year.
Instrument she plays: the Pipa is a four-string plucked lute. Because of its association with silk strings in traditional culture, it is classified as a silk instrument in the Chinese bayin (eight-tone) classification system. Its unique pear-shaped wooden body and its varying number of frets (from 12 to 26) make it an instrument of great beauty and unique character.
The artist: From a long line of traditional Chinese musicians, this talented performer began playing the pipa at age 5. A renowned virtuoso, she became a professional musician as a teenager. Able to play any kind of music, this Pipa player loves exploring new genres and experimenting with traditional and modern sounds. She enjoys playing traditional Chinese arrangements, but also creating her own works, and fusing Chinese and other styles to create a unique sound that is all hers.
3. Erhu Player
Instrument she plays: a two-stringed bowed musical instrument, the erhu is, in fact, a spike fiddle. In Western cultures, it is widely known as the Chinese violin or a Chinese two-stringed fiddle. Characterised by its small, usually hexagonal or octagonal body, the instrument dates back to 1100AD.
The artist: A multi-talented performer who is revolutionising the global music sphere, this erhu player has won many awards as a musician and entrepreneur. Performing breathtaking music that takes the unique look and sound of the Erhu and merges it with classical and contemporary music, this ground-breaking artist is well-known for building bridges between China and diverse cultures and art forms. Don’t miss how she and two fellow Chinese musicians captivated employees at Viacom’s Inclusion Week in New York.
Instrument they play: besides the erhu, pipa and guzheng (explained above), this group also play the dizi and yangqin. The dizi is a Chinese transverse bamboo flute with six finger-holes and an extra hole between the blow-hole and finger-holes. It is the only flute in the world to have this unique feature. The yangqin is a hammered dulcimer with hundreds of strings on top, players use a pair of beaters to hammer the strings.
The artists: A group of talented Chinese musicians based in London, this sensational Chinese Music Ensemble is a collective of high-calibre Chinese performers. They pride themselves on only using authentic and traditional instruments and wearing authentic Oriental clothing in order to preserve their culture and heritage.
Instrument they play: Many of the instruments listed above plus the gu and sheng. The first one is often referred to as a “rattle drum” in English, whilst the second is a mouth-blown free reed instrument consisting of 13 or more bamboo pipes of various lengths. Whilst the gu is especially suitable for accompaniment, the sheng is a very popular solo instrument.
The artists: Offering an all-in-one performance, this group of female musicians love sharing their rich cultural heritage with audiences. If you opt for Chinese traditional musicians, this musical ensemble might be the one you’d like to go for to celebrate Chinese New Year.
Explore Further Ways to Celebrate Chinese New Year
If you would like to explore further Chinese entertainment options or Chinese musical acts, then make sure you explore our vast roster. You can also read any of the below Ideas Blog for further inspiration:
- Top 5 Chinese New Year Entertainment Ideas
- 4 Traditional Chinese Entertainment Options and their Origins
- Top 5 Worldwide Destinations for Celebrating Chinese New Year
Are the above Chinese traditional musicians the type of entertainment you’re looking for to celebrate Chinese New Year? Then don’t hesitate to get in touch today, request further information or make an enquiry.