China

  • Kashgar Ensemble, composed of four uyghur musicians, is playing traditional muqam from Xinjiang, China.
    This tune is a piece of the Rak Muqam, one of the 12 muqam of the uyghur music of Xinjiang. Following a specific structure, this piece is gradually increasing in speed and is originally used for the performances of sama (religious dances) by dervish musicians of Turkestan.
    Muhtarjan – Santur, voice
    Osmanjan – Satar
    Imam Turak – Dotar, voice
    Ahmatjan – Dap
    Recorded in Kashgar, february 2015.

  • This tune from Kashgar Ensemble is a tanbur performance, which is more about an academic exercise than a traditional piece.
    Osmanjan – Tanbur
    Muhtarjan – Dotar
    Recorded in Kashgar, february 2015.

  • I visited Amdo Tibet on my way throughout China, and had the chance to be there during the tibetan New Year.
    Monlam festival – the New Year celebration, called “the Great Prayer” – runs from the 4th to the 15th day of the Tibetan calendar. During the festival, buddhist pilgrims from all over the region come to Labrang monastery to celebrate the miracles Buddha did 2500 years ago, by praying and performing religious rituals.
    On this videos, the monks perform the Cham Dance (“dances of spirits”), one of the main rituals of Monlam festival. The dancers wear masks that represent Wrathful Deities, which means protector entities supposed to conjure the forces of evil and bring the Buddhist practitioner to enlightment. The music instruments leading the dances, including longhorns and drums, are supposed to help awaking the protector entities.
    Recorded in Labrang monastery, march 2015, on a rare snowy day.

  • A musician is playing the Erhu, a traditionnal chinese instrument, while buddhist pilgrims are walking around the monastery of Labrang, in Amdo Tibet, during the Tibetan New Year.
    Recorded in Labrang monastery, March 2015.

  • The quest for the ancestor of the accordion, the Sheng, led me to the Miao community, an ethnic minority living in South-East China, famous for their numerous festivals held throughout the year.
    I went there on the 12th day of the Zhao Long festival, “Calling the dragons”. This 13 days festival seems to be set only when needed, when poor harvest, lack of rain, infertility or infant mortality strikes the community. The aim is to call back the dragons – retreated in the mountains because people forgot to make them offerings – so they can protect the village, its children, its fields, its animals and trees.
    13 days long, people dance around a gong hung in the middle of the main square of the village. The dance is led by a group of men whose task is to bear towels given by the villagers as a gift to the dragon! Giving rythm to the dances, are the famous Sheng players, that i finally found there, turning and turning forever in this procession.
    Recorded in April 2015.



  • Last day of the 13-days festival in Langde, a Miao village of Guizhou, China.
    Miao people are a minority people of China, well known for their numerous festival, lively dances and colourful costumes.
    What i can say is that after dancing 13 days in a row around a gong on the main square of the village while drinking liters of rice wine they are still quite alive.
    I followed them in the house of the head of the village after the official festival end. Well, the gong is hung again in the dark and the dances keep going until the end of the night!
    Recorded in April 2015.

  • Final destination of the trip to Accordeonistan.
    In the Miao community, in China, i have met with musicians playing the Lusheng, this millenium-old chinese instrument that once inspired the creation of the accordion in Europe.
    It was the occasion of some recordings, when the accordion plays with its reed ancestor, the Lusheng.
    Recorded in April 2015.

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