Video: Traditional Nanyin Music Reimagined

Singapore’s Siong Leng Musical Association performers at Asia Society New York on April 28, 2017. (Ellen Wallop/Asia Society)
Singapore’s Siong Leng Musical Association performers at Asia Society New York on April 28, 2017. (Ellen Wallop/Asia Society)

On Saturday, Singapore's Siong Leng Musical Association held two special performances of traditional Nanyin music and Liyuan opera, premiering Soul Journey: Traditional Nanyin Music Reimagined to North American audiences. Following the performances, Rachel Cooper, the director of global performing arts and special cultural initiatives at Asia Society, and several members of the performance company engaged in a Q&A discussion.

Nanyin is a style of Chinese classical musical originating in southern China's Fujian province. It's known for its slow, delicate melodies that use four scales and are primarily performed on five traditional Chinese instruments: pie (wood clapper), gibei (four-stringed lute), samhen (three-stringed lute), xiao (vertical flute), and lihen (two-stringed fiddle). The Siong Leng Musical Association fuses these traditions with other influences like Indian tabla and keyboard instrumentation and dance.

Watch the video below and see the performance and conversation from last Friday.