At the beginning of November, Wood+Wires Music Festival, showcasing folk and world music, will bring the public an opportunity to enjoy outstanding music from around the world. Over 20 musicians have been invited by Irish stout maker Guinness and independent promoter Split Works to perform at the Qianshuiwan Creative Culture Center.
Yunggiema will be on stage for the Wood+Wires Music Festival. Photos: Courtesy of Guinness
Musicians from across China
Kicking things off on November 1 is the ethereal voice of Yunggiema, a singer from Tibet's Menba minority, who shot to fame as a runner-up on this year's Chinese Idol. Although criticized by some who thought her participation in the competition would compromise her artistic integrity, Yunggiema's beautiful voice and otherworldly melodies enchanted judges and viewers alike, bringing the traditional music of the Menba people to a mainstream audience.
In an interview with MoreMusic.cn, Yunggiema spoke of her belief in the healing power of music. "It is a way to cure myself and influence others. Music that can touch one's heart is needed in big cities to balance the material and spiritual," she said.
Over the past few years, folk music has found a growing audience in China and many of the country's most respected folk artists will be in town for the event.
A top act to catch on the second day of the festival is four-piece folk rockers Low Wormwood. Named Best Band at the Chinese Music Awards last year, Low Wormwood have earned a loyal following since they formed a decade ago in Lanzhou, Gansu Province, and have just released their new album.
Also playing on Saturday are Buyi, a legendary fixture of Beijing's live music scene whose sound combines Western classic rock with traditional Chinese instruments, neo-folk outfit Bloody Woods and Shanghai-based world music act Xiban.
On Sunday, look out for Song Yuzhe, an experimental musician who spends much of his time traveling around the country searching for the roots of traditional music. Other well-known local artists on the bill include perennial favorites Hanggai, who blend Mongolian folk traditions with rock, and singer-songwriter Wan Xiaoli.
Closing the weekend-long event is Sainkho Namtchylak, famous for her wonderful sound combining traditional Tuvan throat-singing with avant-garde styles including jazz, experimental and improvisational music. Growing up in a small village in Tuva, a republic in the Russian Federation that borders Mongolia, Namtchylak learned the art of khoomei, an ancient singing technique that was traditionally not taught to women. Although she has spent much of her two-decade career traveling and performing around the world, Namtchylak strongly believes that her true audience is in her hometown.
Talking about the meaning of music, Namtchylak told the Global Times, "It is a realization of your own possibilities, power and nature that is speaking through your music." She continued, "Music is one of the greatest inventions of humankind, an invention that gives one the chance to organize their own sound world into special design that other individuals can share with each other. Music is developing the human possibility to imagine. It's great!"
Having collaborated with a number of talented artists, this time Namtchylak and her friend Dickson Dee are going to be supported by two experienced musicians, Maartin Allcock and Jerry Cutillo.
Sure to delight local music fans when he takes to the stage on Saturday evening is one-man band Katsuhiko Maeda, better known as World's End Girlfriend (WEG). The Nagasaki native is a prolific composer who began making music using keyboard, guitar and computer after he was inspired by Beethoven at the age of 10. With beautiful melodies and ingenious arrangements, WEG's post-rock has been featured in film soundtracks and taken Maeda to festivals around the world.
"My music has many influences from various genres: pop, rock, classical music, electronic music, noise, jazz, and more," he told the Global Times. "I'm not saying it's Bach's music style but I always hope I'd like to get closer to his amazing music field."
"I believe music is not something to understand. What you feel is very important and what you feel is free. It's not just my music, all good quality art, music, painting, movies, novels, whatever. If you feel something from it or are moved by it, you have the same great things in yourself that art has," he said.
In addition to the music, there will also be other live performances, including comedy and dance, as well as a special area for children to enjoy themselves at the festival. Refreshments, including Guinness, will be available.
Wood+Wires will kick off on November 1 at 6:30 pm and last three days until Sunday.
Date: November 1 to 3
Venue: Qianshuiwan Creative Culture Center
Address: 179 Yichang Road 宜昌路179号
Tickets: persale: 120 yuan (one-day pass), 200 yuan (Saturday and Sunday), 300 yuan (three-day pass)
Visit moremusic.cn for details