Jen Shyu — Premiere of Nine Doors


The acclaimed avant-garde vocalist, composer, multi-instrumentalist, dancer, producer, and Fulbright scholar premieres Nine Doors, a solo ritual music drama in eight languages.

Jen Shyu © Steven Schrieber

Please note: This event is being held at National Sawdust, 80 N 6th St, Brooklyn, NY
Two performances: Thursday, June 29, 2017 - 7:00pm & 10:00pm

For tickets: Performance 1 at 7:00 pm
For tickets: Performance 2 at 10:00 pm

Presented by National Sawdust and World Music Institute. In association with Asia Society.

Born from Taiwanese and East Timorese immigrant parents, 2016 Doris Duke Artist Jen Shyu is a groundbreaking multilingual vocalist-composer, multi-instrumentalist, dancer, producer, and Fulbright scholar.

For these special performances at National Sawdust, Shyu will premiere Nine Doors, a solo ritual music drama, through both narrative and abstract, integrative music-movement methodologies via the voice, Taiwanese moon lute, gayageum, piano, biwa, and electronics. Shyu will sing in eight languages including Japanese, Javanese, Indonesian, Taiwanese, Mandarin, Tetum, Korean, and English.

Nine Doors was inspired by the loss of Shyu’s friend Sri Joko Raharjo “Cilik,” who died with his wife and infant son in an automobile accident at the age of 30. Raharjo was a master of the Javanese art of shadow puppetry called wayang kulit. His 6-year-old daughter, who survived the crash, is the central character in Shyu’s piece. Time stops as she encounters powerful female legends — from the Wehali Kingdom of Timor to the Korean folkloric myth of Baridegi, the mother of all shamans — who become her guides. A mysterious phone booth in a gardener's yard in Otsuchi, Japan, which has become a comfort to the families who lost loved ones in the 2011 tsunami, also enters into the story, with the gardener having given Shyu permission to compose a piece with his poetry. The work reflects the parallels that exist between life and death, different cultures, and the importance of empathy over destructive assumptions that divide humanity.

Nine Doors incorporates Shyu’s 12-plus years of study of traditional music from five countries: epic storytelling (Pansori) and East Coast shaman music (DongHaeAhnByeolShinGut), both from Korea; music from sub-districts Aileu and Ataúro from East Timor; Hengchun Folk Song with moon lute from Taiwan; Ledhekan, which combines Javanese dance with improvisational singing (Sindhenan) from Indonesia; and the "speaking-of-the-song" or "katari" with Japanese biwa, the rare 4-stringed instrument originally used by monks and priests.

Discount code: ASIA5 

Event Details

Thu 29 Jun 2017
7 - 11 p.m.
National Sawdust 80 N 6th St, Brooklyn
General admission. Unreserved seating $29 advance/$34 door. (Save 25% on advance group buys of 4 tickets or more.)
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