Just before they leave for three months in Spain to study flamenco, Qiu Xia and Andre have posted a 6-minute Video featuring excerpts from performances and interviews about their music. It's great fun!
Silk Road, with percussionist Liam MacDonald, gave a great concert on August 6 at the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Gardens, with as always a new direction: an exploration of flamenco, complete with talented dancer Michelle Harding. Here's the program they played:
1. Ha Ya Xi Shui - Traditional Chinese.
2. Folguedo - Trio. Brazilian piece featuring Liam on Pandeiro. By Celso Machado
3. To Mi La - Original music in a Central Asian style on Oud, Pipa, Rik. By Qiu Xia He
4. A Pair - Trio. Old favourite in a North African style. By Qiu Xia He and Andre Thibault
5. Canarios - Duet. Lute music from the 17th century adapted for Pipa. By Gaspar Sanz
6. Solea - Dance. Flamenco from Andalucia Ole! By Andre Thibault and Qiu Xia He
7. Granainas - Guitar solo. A free form in flamenco. By Andre Thibault
8. Passion’s Promise - Duet. Spain meets India via jazz! By Moshe Denburg
9. Rumba Calabria - Dance. Contemporary Latin sound. By Andre Thibault
GOLD to Qiu Xia He and Andre Thibault, who embody the multicultural hustle Vancouver bragged about to help snag the Olympics.
The husband-wife team, who run Silk Road Music and Jou Tou, perform in a range of genres, from Chinese folk tunes to Spanish flamenco, and their usual schedule puts them everywhere from folk festivals in the Yukon to concerts in Guangzhou and gigs in the Saskatchewan public schools.
They've worked with the Cultural Olympiad in the past, but are plenty good at finding gigs on their own during the Games, and after. "The Olympiad only helped us to get the David Lam Park Live City Vancouver performance," Qiu Xia said, explaining that her groups' other performances had all been obtained by their own contacts.
Qiu Xia's reponse: OOOOOOO Canada!!!!!!! We are so moved to receive this Gold! Thanks for encouraging us to do what we love!
On Sunday February 14, 1:30-3:00 pm, Silk Road Music is at a special Chinese New Year celebration at Terry Fox Theatre, 1260 Riverwood Gate, Port Coquitlam. Pay what you can!
Also on Sunday February 14, Silk Road Music and other artists are at David Lam Park (Pacific Boulevard and Drake Street) from 5:00-6:00 p.m. as part of the Live City 2010 Vancouver events.
On Tuesday February 16, Jou Tou Trio and other artists are on the Air Canada Stage on Granville Island, 1318 Cartwright Street from 7:30-9:30 p.m. It's part of Place de la Francophonie 2010, and admission is free.
On Friday February 19 at 4:00 p.m., Silk Road Quartet performs as part of the BC Spirit Concert Series in the BC Pavilion at Robson Square. Admission is free.
On February 20, 21 and 22 (Saturday through Monday), 2:30-3:30 p.m., Jou Tou Trio is at the Picnic Pavilion on Granville Island as art of Winterruption 2010.
On Tuesday February 23 at 4:00 p.m., Jou Tou Trio is at BC Pavilion at Robson Square for a free concert in the BC Spirit Concert Series.
And on Sunday February 28, 1:30-3:00 p.m., Jou Tou joins up with Khac Chi Bamboo Music at the Terry Fox Theatre, 1260 Riverwood Gate, for a Sunday Coffee Concert: "From Spain to Vietnam for the Young and Young at Heart." Pay what you can.
I couldn't attend Silk Road Music's concert last week in the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden. But I asked Qiu Xia how it had gone, and this is what she told me:
The concert went well and the weather was great!
There were a lot of new people and they were all smiling in the concert. We thought that was wonderful if we can do that all the time!
We did the concert acoustically and the hall had wonderful natural reverb. Stefan has carefully put in his tabla rhythm in a few new pieces, such as To Mi La, a middle eastern influenced piece and Passion's Promise, a composition by Moshe Denburg, a guitar and pipa number played for the first time with tabla. His sensibility has brought a wonderful groove and bedding for us to flow our melodies.
Rong Jun played her Erhu on full gears. Horse Race and Sparkling Dew were an extreme contrast and revealed her talents and capability on her instrument. We are looking forward to playing with both of them again on Sept 22!
Andre and I were really pleased to have such an opportunity again in the Chinese Garden. We always find it exciting and welcoming to play there because of the place itself and its people. It feels like home!
We have been bringing new repertoires, new artists, and new versions to the place at every year's concert for the last 16 years; it is amazing. It never fails to impress on us how open-minded the audiences are. They like the challenge of hearing new sounds from Silk Road. Many said they like the unusual new rhythms, different instrumentation from the tradition, the energy the group brings together. Here is a comment from a member of the audience, Lauchlin McKenzie, who also took some photos during the concert.
Silk Road Music
“A rarely found eastern group that grooves with magic and extraordinary musicianship. Its music unveils the best characteristic of blues,African rhythms and Mediterranean styles weaving through it’s slightly edgier Chinese tone. The expressive stage presentation draws immediate audience rapport. The music really comes from the heart!”
We would like to invite you to finish this beautiful summer with our Chinese Garden Concert. As many of you know, Silk Road Music has been a favorite at the Enchanted Evenings in the past 16 years. The garden brings out the best of the ensemble because of the intimate setting and its exquisite scenery. The concert will be held inside the hall with artistic works.
This year's concert will feature our Quartet: Qiu Xia He on Pipa, Jun Rong on Erhu, Andre Thibault on Guitar, Stefan Cihelka on Tabla. A format bringing out the spirit of Silk Road in the 21st century.
Please do make reservations due to the limited seating inside the hall!
Silk Road was an ancient network of trading routes, which spanned from the Far East to the Mediterranean Sea.
It's also a fitting metaphor for the musical duo, Silk Road Music, which is comprised of Chinese-born Qiu Xia He and her French-Canadian husband Andre Thibault.
The eclectic musical team, whose harmonies cover many cultures, will perform in Richmond for the Music at the Cannery series on Friday, July 31.
My wife and I, with friends, attended the concert, which was a lot of fun. It was a big audience in a new venue for Qiu Xia and Andre, and they were clearly a hit.
Playing some familiar works to begin with, they still showed an innovative approach to them. And they also had some new and experimental material that went over very well with an audience now primed to expect the unexpected.
Andre's flamenco guitar was a reminder of his technical virtuosity, and Qiu Xia keeps doing amazing things with her pipa. They got laughs with bird calls in a kind of avian quarrel, while a barn swallow repeatedly circled the outdoor stage as if shocked by the dispute.
They're playing again this afternoon at the Harmony Arts Festival in West Vancouver. I won't be able to attend that concert, but I know it will be another big success.
We travelled through Saskatchewan and Manitoba. We didn’t go to Winnipeg where Home Routes is based. Three shows were cancelled on our trip. So, we did 9 house concerts. We had one day with light snow and one day a little rain; the rest of the days were sunny.
Saskatchewan and Manitoba have the most open roads you can see. The blue sky and white clouds are like the oil paintings of the Venice sky. If you have a big car in front of you that you want to pass, you will have to wait a while till you find a hill that you can see ahead. Flat and straight is what you get.
There are gravel roads and side roads exiting on the highways that give the impression they lead nowhere. However, we learned from this tour, those unassuming paths can connect to a town, village, community or a family that has nothing but fantastic people, great history and profound human stories. They are all different, and interesting and lived in an ordinary life with the most colourful forms you can imagine. It is never “nothing out there.”
All the Home Routes hosts love music and generously put aside their own life to get this event together. They invited the outside world to their house, the neighbours and their community.
“We love it!” they say.
We travelled to one house after another, meeting hundreds of people, particularly the “9 House Hosts,” heard their stories and felt their passion about life. They are all extremely busy and inspired individuals. They love living! They are fully involved with the world that they live in. This small town, quiet town image in our head about those people is just imagination. The truth is, they are people who live like any city people: they work, volunteer, give and love with their full capacity! They are wonderful people!
It’s like watching an ongoing movie of human life in the middle of Canada. Their lives, with ups and downs introduces us to the dilemma of a story without a plot. We are dropped in to the individual’s life with a day and so, before we even fully observe, or say good-by mentally, we already started a new meeting. It is a high speed movie on living lives, and full of surprises!