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Two ensembles bring representative Fujian folk music

Quanzhou Nanyin Music Ensemble and Fuzhou Folk Music Ensemble will perform in two concerts, "Traditional Folk Music of Fujian, Nanyin of Quanzhou, Shifan Music of Fuzhou and Chanhe Music" in November.

The shows, presented by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department will be held on November 13 at the Auditorium of the Tsuen Wan Town Hall and November 14 at the Theatre of the Sai Wan Ho Civic Centre. Both shows will be at 8pm.

The Nanyin of Quanzhou, Shifan music of Fuzhou and Chanhe music are most representative among the many types of traditional folk music in Fujian. During the concerts, two ensembles will perform numerous songs from these genres to give the audience a better understanding of Fujian's history and music development.

Nanyin music began at the 7th Century, between the Sui and the Tang periods. Ancient Quanzhou was an important entrepot and occupied a strategic position on the maritime silk route. A full array of music from the central plains, including song-and-dance, opera and lyric singing, was introduced to the southern part of Fujian at this time. The vernacular peculiarities and culture of the central plains have been retained to a large extent through Nanyin. They used the transverse pipa and the chiba (musical instruments) of the Sui and Tang periods to play Nanyin which is highly valued as a 'living fossil' of Chinese traditional music from the central plains region.

The prevalence of Shifan music of Fuzhou dates from as early as the reign of Emperor Qianlong (1736-1795) of the Qing dynasty. It was originally the accompanying percussion music for Dragon Lantern Dance for traditional celebrations. Later, strings and wind instruments were added. The music derives mainly from set tunes. One characteristic of Shifan is the even number ensemble configuration, such as two dizis, two guans, two huqins, with a total of a dozen types or more. Such a sizable ensemble gives a spectacular performance.

Chanhe Music owes its origin to the chanting of paeans by the Chanhe School of Buddhism at doutang, for holding religious activities or amateur entertainment, in Fuzhou in the late Qing dynasty. Initially, they chanted paeans to the beat of chimes, drums, and percussion instruments. Later in the early 1920s, wind and string instruments were used for the purposes of accompaniment or interlude performance. Chanhe music has for a time spread to Beijing, Guangdong, Xiamen, and Taiwan.

Quanzhou Nanyin Music Ensemble, founded in the early 1960s, is a key professional art-performing group in Fujian Province. In collaboration with the Nanyin Research Society, the Ensemble has excavated and collated a large amount of zhi, pu, and qu. Over the years, the professional performers of the Ensemble have been active both at home and abroad and introduced the music genre to Chinese communities in Hong Kong, Macau and Southeast Asia.

Fuzhou Folk Music Ensemble, established in 1990, is a non-government organisation affiliated to the Fuzhou Public Art Centre. Over the years, the Ensemble has devoted itself to the promotion of Chinese culture. Participated in a number of provincial and municipal celebration activities, arts and cultural performances, and various kinds of charity shows the troupe was presented the Third Class Award at the Ninth Music and Dance Festival of Fujian Province and the Silver Award at the Ninth Baihua Arts and Cultural Festival of Fuzhou Municipality.

Tickets priced at $130, $100 and $70 for Tsuen Wan Town Hall; $150 and $90 for Sai Wan Ho Civic Centre are available at URBTIX outlets. Half-price tickets are available for senior citizens, people with disabilities, full-time students and Comprehensive Social Security Assistance (CSSA) recipients (limited tickets for students and CSSA recipients available on a first-come, first-served basis). A 10% discount is available for purchase of tickets for this concert with " Dongjing Music of Mengyang, Honghezhou, Yunnan" (October 10 and 11). A 10% discount is offered to Friends of LCSD performing venues.

In addition, a free exhibition entitled "Folk Music from Fujian - Nanyin of Quanzhou, Shifan Music of Fuzhou and Chanhe Music" will be held from today (September 27) to October 17 at the Foyer of the Hong Kong Cultural Centre (HKCC).

In conjunction with the concert, members of Quanzhou Nanyin Music Ensemble and Fuzhou Folk Music Ensemble will talk about "Ancient Vernacular - Nanyin of Quanzhou, Shifan Music of Fuzhou and Chanhe Music" in a pre-concert talk on November 11 (Thursday) at 7.30pm at the Room AC1, 4th Floor of the Administration Building, HKCC. They will also give two lectures and demonstrations, co-presented by the City University of Hong Kong (CUHK) and The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST), on November 12 (Friday). The first one about "Shifan Music of Fuzhou and Chanhe Music" will be held at 2.30pm at the R6143 of the Chinese Civilisation Centre, Amenities Building of CUHK. Another one about "Nanyin of Quanzhou" will be held at 7.30pm at the Disposition Hall of the Centre for the Arts, HKUST. The activities, conducted in Putonghua, are free for admission on a first-come, first-served basis.

For programme enquiries, call 2268 7321, and for ticketing enquiries and reservations, call 2734 9009. For Internet bookings, go to . For credit card telephone bookings, call 2111 5999. Visit for more information on the programme.

Ends/Monday, September 27, 2004
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