byungki hwang

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Cheng Yu: Chinese Masterpieces of the Pipa and Qin (Arc/Elite)

Cheng Yu: Chinese Masterpieces of the Pipa and Qin (Arc/Elite)

This young virtuoso on the traditional Chinese instruments of pipa and qin (the former like a lute, the latter an unfretted seven-string zither) has been hailed for her deep understanding of the instruments and for reviving the art by using a recreated five-string pipa which had not been heard since the 8th century. She also wrote a book...

Byungki Hwang: The Best of Korean Gayageum Music (Arc/Elite)

Byungki Hwang: The Best of Korean Gayageum Music (Arc/Elite)

At the Auckland Arts Festival AK '07 one of the most fascinating (if least attended) events was an afternoon concert of tea music by a Korean ensemble -- essentially traditional music about the qualities of tea, and performed while tea was being prepared. While you might have come away thinking it takes a helluva long time to get a cup of...

The Yamato Ensemble: Japanese Music by Michio Miyagi, Vol 1 (ARC/Elite)

The Yamato Ensemble: Japanese Music by Michio Miyagi, Vol 1 (ARC/Elite)

Although he lived in the first half of the 20th century, the famous Japanese composer Michio Miyagi -- whose works are featured here -- actually belonged to a much older world. He wrote in the tradition of the Edo Period of the 17th to 19th centuries (although he assimilated some post-Edo influences). His popularity and prodigious output...

The Silk String Quartet: Contemporary and Traditional Chinese Music (Arc/Elite)

The Silk String Quartet: Contemporary and Traditional Chinese Music (Arc/Elite)

This London-based group includes Cheng Yu, who previously featured on Elsewhere with her lovely solo album of pipa (lute) and qin (zither) music. She has a command of both instruments and here (playing pipa) with Sun Zhao on zither, Hu Bin (erhu/fiddle) and Zhou Jinyan (Chinese dulcimer) she delivers lively traditional tunes alongside...

Taoist Music Orchestra of Shanghai: Chinese Taoist Music (Arc/Elite)

Taoist Music Orchestra of Shanghai: Chinese Taoist Music (Arc/Elite)

With bamboo flute, erhu (two stringed fiddle) simple drum, dulcimer, lute and bells, this ensemble bring back to life ancient Taoist music in a modern style and evoke a more ancient world, a spiritual one of contemplation and internal focus. These pieces are either marvellous miniatures or extended pieces with evocative titles: Incense Hymn,...

Seoul, South Korea: Soul to Seoul, a bloggers journal 2008

Seoul, South Korea: Soul to Seoul, a bloggers journal 2008

Because I always travel cheap I usually forget that not everyone does. Sure I've stayed in some of the world's most luxurious and most private hotels -- but that's what happens unfortunately when you win travel writing awards sponsored by the Small Luxury Hotels of the World group and they insist on putting you up in their exotic and...

SHANGHAI LOUNGE DIVAS: The old world into the new

SHANGHAI LOUNGE DIVAS: The old world into the new

Shanghai has always been China's hotspot, the most cosmopolitan of cities in that vast and diverse country. In the Twenties and Thirties the place was awash with jazz, blues and international pop thanks to the international community, and that rubbed alongside the local folk, Mandarin pop and opera. At one time there were 30 radio stations...

Sa Dingding: Harmony (Go East)

Sa Dingding: Harmony (Go East)

The debut album Alive of two years ago by this photogenic Chinese singer was a mish-mash of electro-pop, slightly twee vocals, Chinese folk, new age blandness and deadening over-production. This new album however -- while still mining electro-pop and again putting traditional instruments alongside synths -- is a much more interesting item....

Various Artists: Anywhere on the Road (Warners)

Various Artists: Anywhere on the Road (Warners)

As many Elsewhere readers would be aware, the late English radio DJ Charlie Gillett hosted important weekly radio shows over the decades which pulled music from around the planet: World Music from Elsewhere in other words? This double disc collection -- ideal for a long drive or a late afternoon I have to say -- picks up a considerable...

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