EastRiver deals in Chinese instruments: from bow-strings (the huqin group) and plucked lutes (tanbo yue) to bamboo winds (dizi, xiao and such), reedy oboes (sona and guanzi) , and festive drums, cymbals & gongs, and sometimes a saxophone, cello or an Arabic drum. The music will be Chinese, if you please, with a sneak into Korea or Japan, and the odd American jingle or a die-hard Hollywood tune to take you now and then into your own nostalgia.
The basic ensemble is of three to seven pieces; the extended ensemble may be seven or eight and up to twelve delivering a full repertoire of tunes, songs (sometimes theater and dance) interspersed with a narrative to lend drama and history to the music. Performances are timed to meet the requirement of the venue, from 30 to 90 minute in length, with or without intervals.
EastRiver music is essentially identified with the provinces of Dongbei & Hebei – largely – North and East China around the Yellow River with some venturing into other regional traditions such as ‘sizhu’ silk-and-bamboo (of the Yangtze River) or southern China (Canton, Chaozhou, Fujian)
Young musicians show off their knowledge at the Chinese Music Heritage Workshop Part II. Congratulations to all who participated. Stay tuned for more updates and be sure to check out the Mencius Youth Orchestra on Sunday December 9th. See you there!