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Elegant but not unreachable; life art that nourishes the senses
(Sing Tao Daily)

03-01-2019

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Elegant but not unreachable; life art that nourishes the senses
By Miu Law

Quoting a poem by Su Shi, great writer of the Song Dynasty, “It is better to eat without meat, than to live without bamboo. A meatless meal makes one thin, a bambooless life makes one vulgar.” In addition to satisfying the basic needs of food and shelter, spiritual cultivation is also the key to a fulfilling life. The beauty of arts lies in the sincere exchange between people, and in finding a pure land of repose in the hustle and bustle of urban life – the dialogue between hearts, lives that inspire lives, is the vision pursued by Wuji Ensemble through their “Salon Concert” Series.

Salon Concert: In Search of the Earthly Roots

The “Salon Concert” series is an elegant set of live performance that create intimate exchanges with the audience, sometimes talking while playing. “Not just a concert, but everyone participates in the process of life.” Wuji Ensemble described “Salon Concert” as a journey in which artists and audiences share their lives, opening up new perspectives for looking into the future and the various things in life. “Many people think that art is far from life, but all sessions that we have held are actually very down to earth…Everything begins from the souls.”

In response to the re-enactment of the atmospheric music theatre Beyond the Senses for JOCKEY CLUB New Arts Power in January 2019, Wuji Ensemble will organise three “Salon Concert” sessions in relation to Chinese Opera, including Naamyam, Nanguan and Kunqu. The guest artists, Franco Yuen Siu-fai, Chan Yi-ying and Xing Jin Sha are invited to interact with Wong Chi Ching, music director of Wuji Ensemble and renowned pipa musician, to demonstrate to the audience the profundity of traditional Chinese Opera. Wong Chi-ching recounted the essence of Chinese Opera, “The Chinese Opera is the root of our culture. We search for our roots in order to develop. There are the oldest Kunqu operas, and Nanyin that relates to Hong Kong. Living in a society, we must have a sense of our own culture. Our nutrient (of creation) comes from here.”

Warming Up with Singing Bowl and Tea Ceremony

Beyond the Senses aptly combines modern theatre with the natural sounds of classical instruments, bringing out the charm and Zen of the oriental mood, the singing bowl performance should be credited for. Singing bowl artist Tsang Man Tung will lead a hundred performers in a demonstration before the public performance. The audience will feel the healing powers of sound, and enter into a peaceful state of body and mind. The sound of the singing bowl is very primitive. Compared to melodic music the audience usually listens to, this is returning to the basic, just like the wind whistling, and through this sound the audience finds a way back to nature.” Tsang explained how the singing bowl experience responds to the Beyond the Senses performances. What we see may be something concrete, but listening can sublimate and bring you into the imagination space. What the atmospheric music theatre does is to bring people to a rich inner world through simple prompt.”

Before the public performance of Beyond the Senses, there will be “The Wuji Tea & Music Experience”, another experience workshop to be hosted by tea artist Raymond Ray, with tea tasting and live music by Wuji Ensemble, where the audience will experience spiritual healing with tea ceremony and appreciate the art of living. Mavis Lam, music manager of Wuji Ensemble, described the workshop as a warm-up exercise before the opera begins. “To appreciate tea, one has to look at its colour, smell its fragrance, and taste its taste. It complements the name of ‘Beyond the Senses’w …We hope that participants experience through the sense of taste, and with live music distinguish all the sensations. That through music, environment and taste, their sensitivity will be heightened, which is a very good step before entering the theatre.”

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