Jaw Harp Player Wang Li to Perform at Lincoln Center's White Light Festival Tonight, 10/25
Wang Li, the extraordinary master of both the jaw harp-thought to be one of the oldest instruments in the world-and the calabash flute, will give a one-night-only solo performance as part of Lincoln Center's White Light Festival in The Allen Room at Jazz at Lincoln Center tonight, October 25.
Hailing from Tsingtao, China, and now based in Paris, Wang Li's improvisational music juxtaposes the sounds and melodies of these two traditional instruments with a 21st century feel, resulting in an almost otherworldly meditation. Of a recent performance, The New York Times wrote: "The rhythms of sharply pinging, clicking notes sometimes suggested electronic dance music; ghostly overtone melodies sighed up above. It was deeply solitary music, quietly spellbinding."
In this recital, Li will perform on an instrument of his youth known as the kouxiang, made of bamboo or metals like copper and brass and shaped like a leaf. It is a jaw harp and has been played in China since at least the 14th century. Li will also play the hulusi, a kind of flute topped by a metal reed with a resonating chamber made from a calabash gourd and pipes, some of which include finger holes.
Li first played electric bass guitar for Western-style bands in college before taking a surprising turn: after graduation he moved to a French monastery for a contemplative life. During his four years there, Li discovered a new, intimate vision for the jaw harp. He then went on to study jazz at the Paris Conservatory, which inspired his interest in improvisational techniques. Li incorporates those techniques along with his mastery of circular breathing and throat singing to create a "dark and dreamy almost acoustic dubstep sound" (The Wild Magazine).
Tickets, beginning at $25, are available online at WhiteLightFestival.org, by calling CenterCharge at 212.721.6500, or at the Avery Fisher or Alice Tully Hall box offices, Broadway and 65th St. Programs, artists, schedules, and tickets prices are subject to change.
Thursday, October 25, 2012 at 8:00
Wang Li, jaw harps and calabash flute
The Allen Room (Jazz at Lincoln Center's Frederick P. Rose Hall, Broadway at 60th St.)
White Light Lounge in the Atrium (Jazz at Lincoln Center's Frederick P. Rose Hall, Broadway at 60th St.)