UK musicians are getting set for another musical adventure in China. Kerry Andrew, Mira Calix and Bella Hardy are set to spend six weeks in east Asia, collaborating with local musicians as part of the British Council and PRS for Music’s Musicians in Residence programme.
The announcement comes after a successful project in 2014 which saw the likes of Sam Genders, Arun Ghosh and Anna Meredith embarking on musical projects in the Chinese cities of Changsha, Wuhan and Hangzhou. The Guardian travelled over to report on the project, and was there to cover Genders performing live with a jazz-influenced Chinese backing band and clarinetist Ghosh collaborating with the emerging talent on Wuhan’s alternative rock scene.
The programme, now in its third year, aims to foster artistic relationships between UK musicians and local artists in China. Composition, live performances and the general exchange of musical ideas are all on the agenda, although each artist has a degree of free reign regarding how they choose to spend their time.
Andrew, an experimental composer based in London, will travel to Zhengzhou, where she hopes to work with local musicians in order to create theatrical, storytelling-music based around the motif of the shape-shifting “trickster fox”.
Folk singer Hardy heads to Kunming with plans to create new work based on an exploration of the history of Chinese folk music. Calix, who integrates music, sound, visual media and technology in her work, will be based in Nanjing and aims to produce a new multi-disciplinary collaborative artwork with her hosts at the University of the Arts.
Executive director of PRS for Music Foundation, Vanessa Reed, said: “I am delighted that, together with British Council, we are supporting three exciting and talented musicians, Bella, Kerry and Mira, to have this unique international opportunity, to create new music and build new international connections. I look forward to following how this experience contributes both to their creative development and their potential to reach new audiences.”
Past residencies have produced impressive results. Imogen Heap recorded the track XiZi She Knows, composed during her time in Hangzhou, whereas in 2013, Gareth Bonello released the album Y Bardd Anfarwol, which combined Welsh and Chinese folk music to tell the life story of the Tang Dynasty poet Li Bai. That album won Welsh Album of the Year at the 2014 National Eisteddfod, and was nominated for the 2014 Welsh Music Prize.
Source: The Guardian