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Say It Right Series

"Alternative Music" in Mandarin

Posted by julesong February 29, 2008 in the Group General Discussion.

I thought it might be a good idea to start a separate thread on this topic, since I've been talking about it in other threads.


Although I enjoy classical Chinese music, and occasionally pop, my real interest is to find listen-able music in other genres.  So when I find such artists that use Mandarin in their music, I'll post them here so we can all share.  :)


One type of music that I seek out is something I call "Chinese Fusion Folk" or "Asian Fusion Folk" - a blend of Chinese and American folk or country western.  It might sound like a weird combination, but it works surprisingly well!


A good example of this is Abigail Washburn, who lived in China for a few years.  She occasionally sings in Mandarin:
Check out the song "The Lost Lamb".  Wonderful voice!  And she's able to do amazing things with her banjo, producing sounds you wouldn't believe from that old hillbilly instrument.  She makes banjo beautiful!

She also sings/sang with a group called Uncle Earl. Check out "Streak o' Lean, Streak o' Fat" on this CD: aka "Péi Gēn," myself. :)


Bela Fleck (a well-known and outstanding banjo player who Abigail has played with) also has a few pieces which mix Asian style with folk.


Greg Edmonson, composer of the "Firefly" soundtrack, is very good at mixing genres.  You can hear the Asian influence throughout his music for the show.  He's also a friend of mine - a really nice man.  :)


I also enjoy the blues when mixed with Mandarin, and there are a couple of examples of that on the CD "Blues in Asia."


There are also the Chinese classics from the early 1900s that are a lot of fun to add into your playlists, like "Famous Chinese Musicians: Zhou Xuan" - take a listen to "Night Life in Shanghai"


I'd love to hear from others that have found enjoyable Mandarin music in unusual genres! 

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