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Wu Man joins the Zhang Family Band for performances of old-tune traditional music with shadow puppetry, a practice that occurs mainly in Shaanxi Province, particularly in a small village at the foot of Mount Hua near the city of Huayin. The music is often performed by a solo singer supported by a combination of singers from the whole band. In addition to vocals, the main instruments are the yueqin, banhu, erhu, and percussion, including clappers, small gongs, and cymbals around a large gong.
Recognized as the world’s premier pipa virtuosa and leading ambassador of Chinese music, Grammy-nominated musician Wu Man has carved out a career as a soloist, educator, and composer, giving her lute-like instrument―which has a history of over two thousand years in China―a new role in both traditional and contemporary music. Through numerous concert tours, Wu Man has premiered hundreds of new works for the pipa, while spearheading multimedia projects to both preserve and create awareness of China’s ancient musical traditions. Her adventurous spirit and virtuosity have led to collaborations across artistic disciplines, allowing Wu Man to reach wider audiences as she works to break through cultural and musical borders. Wu Man’s efforts were recognized when she was named Musical America’s 2013 Instrumentalist of the Year, marking the first time this prestigious award has been bestowed on a player of a non-Western instrument.
Watching the Zhang musicians let fly on lutes, fiddles and gongs, as the singer Zhang Ximin roared through lively ballads recounting folk tales and myths, you were swept up by their energy and charisma.
—New York Times
Hailing from Shaanxi province, the seven-member band began its set with an exuberant shout and an infectious groove on ancient folk instruments.
—Los Angeles Times