Friday, January 09, 2015

Pipa In The Afternoon

J was volunteering at the art museum this weekend and I had the chance to listen to a Pipa performance that was part of the event.  All afternoon, there were music and dance performances representing different genres and regions from China. The variation was pretty amazing - to my ears it ranged from the sounds of Begum Akhtar to Kirtan to Sufi music and Kraftwerk. They may have added Yo-Yo Ma in the mix to broaden the appeal but that fit into the continuum quite well. 

Some years back, I had read about wall panels being able to soak up music and turn it into ambient light. Could not help thinking about how all this music may permeate the walls of the museum and change a visitor's experience of the place. When we visit here we usually hear classical music or jazz playing in the background. There is a certain energy that goes with it and it is different from the music of Pipa for instance as described by the poet Bui Jayi

The bold strings rattled like splatters of sudden rain,
The fine strings hummed like lovers' whispers. 
Chattering and pattering, pattering and chattering,
As pearls, large and small, on a jade plate fall.
The sweet melody recalls oriole singing among flowers,
The sobbing music brings the gushing spring out of glacier,
The spring frozen, the strings ceased vibration.
The water stopped flowing and silence set in.

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