This week sees three Norwegian performers, accordionist Frode Haltli, percussionist Terje Isungset and vocalist Unni Løvlid visiting China to perform with Chinese musicians representing the Dong minority in an exchange project of musicians between Norway and China. ‘Meeting on a bridge’ as the project has been dubbed, represents a unique and new take on the oft-used cultural exchange phrase.
The three Norwegian musicians coming to China represents a re-visit from last year when the Dong musicians visited Norway and the Førde Music Festival. The musical co-operation started as a spin-off from a Sino-Norwegian Environmental cooperation project in Guizhou province.
Dong music struck a chord with the Norwegian folk singer Unni Løvlid, when she first heard it performed in the village of Tang’An, Guizhou province in 2004. As a result of her visit, four young musicians from this strong minority culture were invited to the Førde International Folk Music Festival in Norway later that year. It was here that the concert project ‘Meeting on a bridge’ was created. June 2005 sees the Chinese premiere of the project.
‘Meeting on a bridge’ provides an opportunity to hear Dong music and Norwegian folk music side by side, as Dong musicians meet high-profile Norwegian musicians with backgrounds in folk music, improvisation and contemporary music. This adds up to seven strong personalities in a powerful musical interaction.
Dong music has its roots in daily life in the villages Dimen, Gaotun, Ti Tang and Tang’An. The Dong people have their own language, although it had no written form until 1958. Thus their history, legends and stories have always been told through song. Song is still used in the same way today; there are songs about working in the fields, songs for offering wine to guests, songs for expressing love and getting children to sleep. The Norwegian contribution to the performance is based on folk songs from the west coast of Norway, where Unni Løvlid grew up. The themes of all these songs are the same: love, joy and sorrow.
The Chinese performers from the Guizhou province are: Wu Chuan Ping (vocal), Lu Yingmei (vocal), Pan Xin Zhi (vocal) and Wu Anhua Dongliang (Dong pipe, ox-bone fiddle, Dong flute, lusheng).
The concerts will be held in Guizhou Province and Beijing
Concert in the city of Guiyang 4 June.
Two performances are scheduled on the 11th of June
Dong will perform at the former Residence of Song Qingling (Soong Ching Ling), 46 Beiheyan, Houhai. This is a family friendly concert, and it is especially suitable for children. Admission: RMB 20, RMB 10 (College students), RMB 5 (Primary and middle school students)
Dong will perform at Jin Fan Concert Hall. This is a concert for a broad audience.
Admission to the concerts is free
The concerts are produced by Rikskonsertene – The Norwegian Concert Institute.
The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has provided financial support for the project.
Terje Isungset, Drummer, Composer
Frode Haltli, Accordionist
Unni Løvlid, Folk music singer