Classical & Contemporary Chinese Music - Mei Han & Red Chamber

Mai Han ARC CD

Exquisite recordings of rare Chinese traditional treasures and groundbreaking contemporary works by the world's leading international zheng artist: Mei Han and her Red Chamber ensemble. An exceptional blend of scholar and virtuoso, Mei Han studied with the last generation of folk masters to attain the top position playing zheng in China. With a PhD in Ethnomusicology Han brings to life forgotten historic scores and infuses ancient Chinese aesthetics into groundbreaking contemporary explorations.

This is a compilation of tracks taken from Mei Han's previous CDs: Gathering, Redgrass, Outside the Wall, and Distant Wind.

Mei Han: zheng, liuqin
Guilian Liu: pipa
Zhimin Yu: zhongruan, daruan
Geling Jiang: sanxian, zhongruan
Randy Raine-Reusch: zheng

Artist Page

Dao 1. Dao Chuilian
DRR 2. Dark Red Ruby
3. Xi'an Medley
4. Nokoto
Girls 5. Girls Picking Flowers
PL 6. Pink Lotus in Many Modes
GANK 7. Gankino Horo
8. Peng Baban
SSWS 9. Sunny Spring and White Snow
DJ 10. Datun Jelut
Yao 11. Dance of the Yao People

Bloogfolk, Italy - Mei Han has the ability to urge all the expressive possibilities of this instrument. The thrill of this small string ensemble seduces the listener.  Magnificent album! Bloogfolk

Songlines TOP of the WORLD - Growing up in Maoist China, Mei Han had to undergo numerous hardships to study her chosen instrument, the guzheng (21-stringed zither). It required hours-long bus journeys to reach her teacher, and she could only pay her with eggs or rice. But Mei Han soon became an accomplished player, and by the age of 19 had ascended to the highest position in the country for a guzheng soloist. Later residing as an academic in British Columbia and currently Tennessee, Mei Han's extensive experience as an ethnomusicologist informs this recording, her first international release.

Rather than retreading standard guzheng repertoire, Mei Han instead chooses pieces derived from historical scores, and performs several original compositions, such as the Balkanesque 'Dark Red Ruby' and 'Girls Picking Flowers'. She also rearranges folk tunes from Bulgaria and Borneo ('Gakino Horo' and 'Datun Jelut' respectively). There is a substantial improvised element, most effective on 'Nokoto', a haunting duet with bassist Laurence Mollerup inspired by the Japanese koto (zither). For most of the album, Mei Han is accompanied by her exceptional plucked-string ensemble, Red Chamber, comprised of the instruments pipa (pear-shaped lute), ruan (moon lute) and sanxian (fretless lute). The ensemble playing is consistently tight and dynamic, exemplified by thrilling ensemble arrangements of pieces traditionally performed by solo traditional instruments. This is a recording that succeeds at continuing a long tradition as well as being innovative and contemporary. Soundlines Top of the World Dec. 2016

World Music Central - Classical & Contemporary Chinese MusicClassical & Contemporary Chinese Music is a globe-trotting delight. Ms. Han and Red Chamber’s Ms. Liu, Ms. Jiang and Ms. Yu are truly impressive in their musical prowess as they are in the musical reach and well worth a listen. World Music

Monolith Cocktail - Classical & Contemporary Chinese Music is an articulate beguiling showcase; an attentive introduction to both the mastery of Mei Han and her ensemble and the diaphanous sound of the zheng. Monolith

Ecultura, Hungary - "Gankino Horo” This is clearly the most unexpected item on the disc, as a Bulgarian folk dance in this environment is positively as rare as hens’ teeth.* Despite all my previous assumptions, the four ladies (three of them constituting Red Chamber) perfectly succeeded in conjuring up the Balkan atmosphere and the sound of the bouzouki. (translated by Andrew Timar) Ecultura, Hungary