The Royal Opera House will host an Indo-Chinese musical, where eight Chinese artistes are in a jugalbandi with Indian artistes, over Hindi classics
Popular Chinese vocalist Ma Qijun, who has performed on international stages and earned the moniker of Fancy Little Queen of Music, learnt Shaoxing Opera, the second most popular form from over 360 opera genres in China, when she was only 11. This weekend, she will perform ancient Chinese melodies under the gilded ceiling at the Royal Opera House.
However, Qijun has also planned a surprise. She will also croon two classic Hindi songs for the very first time — the soulful Aajao Tadapte Hai Armaan (Awara, 1951) and the Kishore Kumar-Asha Bhonsle number Yeh Raatein Yeh Mausam (Dilli Ka Thug, 1958). "The Chinese have special love for Indian movies, soaps and songs. Hindi songs often make their presence felt in mobile ringtones and at Chinese functions," says the musician.
Qijun is part of a concert titled Silk Roads Indo-China Music Festival, named after the ancient network of trade routes that were integral to cultural exchange through regions of Asia. It has been hosted by the non-profit Musician's Federation of India (MFI) with an aim to foster cultural exchange with their Asian neighbour.
"The seed was sown last year when China Music Association invited our delegates to discuss the concert tours. They were exposed to folk, traditional and classical music genres of the country and they began to practise pieces with Chinese artistes," shares Kishor Jawade, general secretary of the federation. The result was the first edition of the fest hosted in three cities — Ahmedabad, Nagpur and Raipur — last year. This event marks the second edition.
The line-up features eight artistes from China who will present solo pieces on traditional Chinese instruments like the guzheng and pipa. They will also collaborate with Indian musicians Ratish Tagde (violin), Sunil Verma (flute), Amit Chaubey (tabla) and Jawade (percussion) for a unique jugalbandi. "Along with the Indian artistes, Nash Naubeart from USA, an acclaimed flautist and student of Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia, will perform too," he informs, adding that the team is also planning an Indo-China folk festival by the end of the year.
Meet the artistes
Chen Feng: Invited to perform in Italy, Thailand, Hong Kong and Macau as part of symphony orchestras, Feng plays the erhu, a two-string instrument that resembles a violin but sits on an artiste's lap. It is played with a bow that would originally be made from bamboo and horsehair, while the soundbox would be covered with snakeskin.
Chen Yuqi: Training since she was four, Yuqi plays the pipa, a four-stringed Chinese instrument with a pear-shaped wooden body. The artiste has performed with many Chinese orchestras and participated in several music competitions.
Cao Yanli: The artiste has been playing the guzheng since she was five. It's a plucked instrument with over 16 strings and a history dating back to 2,500 years. A faculty member at the Guangdong Literature And Art Vocational College, the award-winning artiste has performed in Korea, Australia, Indonesia and Sri Lanka.
Zheng Ce: A winner at interna-tional compe-titions in Hong Kong, Ce plays the dizi, a Chinese transverse flute that's made of bamboo.
Chen Yifei: A percussionist currently studying at the Guangdong Literature And Art Vocational College, Yifei plays the yangqin, a Chinese hammered dulcimer that is supposed to have originated from Persia.
Luo Zhangcheng: A graduate of Xinghai Conservatory of Music, Zhangcheng is a percussionist.
Xie Dongxiao: He plays the guqin, a plucked seven-string instrument, which has been favoured from ancient times for its refined sound, also connected to the betterment of mental and physical health.
ON: February 18, 7 pm onwards
AT: Royal Opera House, Charni Road, near Girgaum Chowpatty.
RSVP: 7715991000 (for passes)