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Wu Man and Huayin Shadow Puppet Band Coming to UCSB

Wu Man Click to view larger
Wu Man (Huntz Yen)

UCSB Arts & Lectures will present a rare experience of traditional Chinese culture courtesy of some of China’s most celebrated artists, Wu Man and the Huayin Shadow Puppet Band, at 8 p.m. Thursday, March 8, at UCSB Campbell Hall.

Wu Man is the world’s premier master of the pipa, a “one-woman force of nature,” reports Gramophone.

A principal member of Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble, her adventurous spirit and virtuosity lead to collaborations across artistic disciplines.

In this joyous multimedia program, China’s Huayin Shadow Puppet Band (superstars in their home country) join Wu Man for an evening of traditional music and shadow puppetry.

Recognized as the world’s foremost pipa virtuoso and leading ambassador of Chinese music, Wu Man has carved out a career as a soloist, educator and composer giving her lute-like instrument, which has a history of 2,000 years in China, a new role in both traditional and contemporary music.

Through numerous concert tours, Wu Man has premiered hundreds of new works for the pipa, while spearheading multimedia projects to both preserve and create awareness of China’s ancient musical traditions.

Collaborations with artists such as Kronos Quartet allow Wu Man to reach wider audiences as she works to break through cultural and musical borders.

Wu Man’s efforts were recognized when she was named Musical America’s 2013 Instrumentalist of the Year, marking the first time this award has been bestowed on a player of a non-Western instrument.
 
Wu Man was brought up in the Pudong School of pipa playing, one of the most prestigious classical styles of Imperial China. She is now recognized as an outstanding exponent of the traditional repertoire as well as a leading interpreter of contemporary pipa music by today’s most prominent composers.

She was the first Chinese traditional musician to receive The United States Artist Fellowship in 2008 and was awarded the Bunting Fellowship at Harvard University in 1998. She is the first artist from China to perform at the White House.

Her discography of more than 40 albums includes the Grammy Award-winning "Sing Me Home "with the Silk Road Ensemble, which features Wu Man’s original composition "Green" (Vincent’s Tune); the Grammy-nominated recordings "Our World in Song," "Traditions and Transformations: Sounds of the Silk Road Chicago," her recording of Tan Dun’s "Pipa Concerto" with Yuri Bashmet and the Moscow Soloists; and "You’ve Stolen My Heart" featuring Wu Man and the Kronos Quartet.

Wu Man frequently collaborates with the Kronos and Shanghai Quartets, the Knights and the Silk Road Ensemble. She is a featured artist in the documentary The Music of Strangers: Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble, seen in theaters in 2016.

Huayin Shadow Puppet Band (also called the Zhang Family Band) is known for performances of old tune traditional music with shadow puppetry, a practice that occurs mainly in Shaanxi Province Huayin County located in a small village at the foot of the Hua-Shan Mountain.

The music often is performed by one solo singer supported by a combination of singers from the whole band. In addition to vocals, the main instruments are the yueqin, banhu, erhu and percussion including clappers, small gongs and cymbals around large gong.
 
Wu Man and the Huayin Shadow Puppet Band is presented by UCSB Arts & Lectures. Media sponsor is Santa Barbara Independent.
 
Tickets are $25-$38 for the general public and $15 for UCSB students, with valid student ID.
 
For tickets and more information, call UCSB Arts & Lectures, 893-3535, or visit www.ArtsAndLectures.UCSB.edu.

— Caitlin O'Hara for UCSB Arts & Lectures.

 

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