The Wholenote Magazine 2006
Le Son de Soie/Silk Sound
Accords Croises AC 116
Here we have yet another superb CD (her seventh in as many years) from Chinese-Canadian pipa (lute) and guzheng (zither) player, Liu Fang. One difference is that this recording is her first produced in France, and it has already garnered that country’s prestigious L’Académie Charles Cros Award. Clearly Liu Fang is well on her way to replicating her North American success over in Europe.
The care and detail lavished on all aspects of this production are outstanding, from the exquisite accompanying booklet replete with stunning photos and an informative text in French and English, to the high quality of the recorded sound and musical performances. My only quibble is that sometimes the text is overly romantic and effusive.
Of the eleven tracks, three are for solo pipa, Liu Fang’s first instrument. In particular, the eleven-minute piece, The King of Chu doffs his Armour, is impressive, with its traditional military and percussive style. On three other tracks we hear solo guzheng with its softer, undulating melodies. However, it is the cross-cultural improvisations which are the most innovative aspect of the recording — Liu Fang is joined in turn by Alla on oud (North African lute), Henri Tournier on bansuri, and Ballaké Sissoku on kora (West African harp-lute). The interplay between Liu Fang and these three musicians is eloquent and seemingly effortless — an altogether very convincing and beautiful musical fusion.
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