May 3, 2011 (Calcutta Tube): Chinese music composer and Yangqin (Dulcimer) player Professor Liu Yuening is all set to perform a fusion concert in Kolkata along with other Indian performers Kolkata on May 4, 2011.IBNS correspondent Supriyo Hazra interacted with Yuening over music and cultural exchanges. Read the excerpts at Calcutta Tube.
Is this your first concert in Kolkata?
No, I have performed here earlier in 2009. This is my third concert here. I had my solo performances at the Town Hall and The School of Chinese Language in Kolkata.
What is the difference that the audience here are going to feel this time in comparison to the previous edition?
There are lots of differences from the time I performed here in 2009. I still remember that both of us (Kolkata and Yuening) were not so familiar with each other in our first interaction. During my second meeting, I explained Chinese music to the people of Kolkata.But this time, we will have both a seminar and a concert which make this interaction more interesting. This year we are marking the 150th birth year of Rabindranath Tagore, so we have a special programme to pay him respect and homage. I and Pratik Chowdhury will play the music together. Our musical exchange will take place.
What is goal as a music composer?
I have several goals as a music composer. First of all, I want more Indian music to be connected and added to Chinese music through me, I want to act as a bridge between the two. Secondly, I want to find a common point between the Chinese and Indian traditional music.I want to built some new scale between the traditional music of the two nations. I want to use raga structure and take melody from India and China and mix it. I will use tabla and other instruments and thus you can witness the transformation.
Do you think that some thing need to be done to attract the young generations of both China and India towards traditional and classical music?
I feel that there is same situation in China as in India. I feel that one need to change some note and bring something new in it which can also be a new concept that I feel will do some help. Bring in fresh music, music scales, More over I feel that besides all these the present generation also need to provide education through lectures and concerts like this, which I feel will help these youths to understand classical music more closely. You must make the youths understand that these classical musical instruments are easy to learn. Then there is need to add more raga and melody to it. Melody that the youths will love to listen.
What is your reaction to the present trend of fusion music and experimentation which is commonly heard these days?
China is very open-minded nation. We accept plenty of information from different countries and want to learn more. Music is becoming more popular in this way. And the government also want to see more sharing of people, culture and works with other nations.
Who was your inspiration?
My first teacher was my biggest inspiration, He was not a professional teacher but he loved music. He really played from his heart.
Who is your favourite musician here in India?
I know to play ‘Santoor’ (an Indian musical instrument) . My ‘guruji’ (teacher) is Pandit Shivkumar Sharma. He is a kind person, I am happy that i meet him in Mumbaio. He taught me about santoor and gave me ideas about the instrument. Infact, I was Panditji’s first Chinese student.
Any plans of working on Rabindranath Tagore?
I want to do more on Tagore’s music. I want to do new works. I want to translate from Indian scores to Chinese scores. I want Indian scholars to translate his works to Chinese language and want more Chinese people singing Tagore’s compositions.
Your favourite Tagore’s compositions?
I not only love his songs but also his poems. There is a different emotion reflected in his poetry. I feel that they can easily connect with humanity.
What are your expectations from the audience in Kolkata this time?
I believe that the people in this city are very emotional and have cultural touch inside them. They have a beautiful history and background. So this Kolkata concert is really close to me.I believe that it will be very successful. I feel that the audience here will cherish a good memory in future days.