Liu Fang and friends: multi-cultural collaborations

Albums for Duo and ensembles

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Label: Philmultic | Cat. No.: PMPCD809 | Release: 2010

Along the Way
Duo pipa et violin
performed by

Liu Fang and Malcolm Goldstein

Along the way - duo pipa and violin - released on October 21, 2010
Total: 132 minutes
(Click here to listen to music samples online)

From Chinese traditional music to avant-garde freestyle improvisation, this beautifully-packaged double-CD features the music created by the meeting of these two extraordinary artists of different cultures and even different generations - violinist Malcolm Goldstein (born 1936), one of the greatest maestros in the field of freestyle improvisation, and Chinese pipa virtuoso Liu Fang, young master on the traditional classical music of China.

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About the music

CD 1

Included between these duo settings are also some solo performances; Liu Fang presenting classical Chinese lute pieces and Malcolm Goldstein playing his soundings improvisations. Each alone now, their separate voices distinct, before another duet brings them together to discover new dimensions in improvisation.

[01] Songs across the border (duo) 18:25
[02] But one bird sang not (violin solo) 7:09
[03] Wild geese descending on a sandy beach (pipa solo) 8:18
[04] Beyond any border, the sky (duo) 4:27
[05] “My feet is tired, but my soul is rested” (violin solo) 8:28
[06] An air on a theme to dance (pipa solo) 5:27
[07] Falling snow decorating pine trees (duo) 10:48

(Total length: 63:02)

CD 2

Wind over earth, the grass in between stirred to dancing. So, too, this meeting of east and western sources resound a new music. Pipa and violin, both far distant and with ancient histories, come together in this shared space, interacting in the moment of encounter to reveal a unique quality of sounding. Wind blowing over the earth, the Aeolian harp responding.

The duets here are all improvisations; there is no pre-arranged framework for the music. It begins and flows freely, as each musician follows their own line within their common ground of listening. Improvisation allows for the logic of our total selves to participate; what comes forth is the coherence of the sounding gesture. Bow rubbing upon the string, plectrum snapping the silken thread; the two sources become one, a new sound-texture in the air.

[01] Keeps flowing away 9:02
[02] Sand tracing its clarity 9:08
[03] Over empty rocks 4:04
[04] Scuttle of wisp blown sounds 7:12
[05] Churning skies, the clouds 14:12
[06] Moon shadow lingering 8:16
[07] Amid stark twilight 7:17
[08] Horizons never quite 9:29

(Total length: 68:40)

Press reviews...

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Label: Philmultic | Cat. No.: PMPCD808 | Release: 2008

Duo pipa et guitar
performed by

Liu Fang and Michael O'Toole
Changes - duo pipa and guitar - released in 2008

[1]. Yao Danse (Chinese traditional) 5:45 music sample - short clip online listening
[2]. Company (Philip Glass, 1937- ) 7:34 music sample - short clip online listening
[3]. Nightclub (Astor Piazzolla, 1921-1992) 5:54 music sample - short clip online listening
[4]. Sai Shang Qu (Chinese classical tradition) 7:26 music sample - short clip online listening
[5]. Concerto pour «pipa» et guitare (adapté d’Antonio Vivaldi, 1678-1741) 6:51 music sample - short clip online listening
[6]-[8] Three Pieces for Pipa and Guitar (Toshiyuki Hiraoka, 1964-) music sample - short clip online listening
I Wish 2:01| Water Necklace 3:22 | Twisted Illusion
[9]. Spillieart's Beach (Ian Wilson, 1964-) 6:23 music sample - short clip online listening
[10]. Danses folkloriques roumaines (Bela Bartok, 1881-1945) 6:58 music sample - short clip online listening

Total 56.1 minutes
(Click here to see detailed information about each track.)

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About the music

Internationally-acclaimed Chinese pipa virtuoso Liu Fang and the renowned Irish classical guitarist Michael O'Toole has recorded a new album of duo pipa & guitar in a unique and exciting collaboration that brings together wide variety of repertoire from classical and traditional music to contemporary works.

The pipa (Chinese four-stringed Lute) and guitar have evolved from a common ancestor over many centuries into very different instruments and following continuous adaptations and modifications, are both eminently suitable for solo as well as modern ensemble playing. The beautiful, crystalline sound of the pipa is elegantly complemented by the warm, rich tone of the guitar. The combination of these two instruments creates a new flamboyant sound which, while steeped in their respective histories, is also refreshingly modern and surprisingly versatile. From the beautiful subtle melodies of 'Sai Shang Qu' to the daring adaption of Philip Glass' masterpiece 'Company' to the raucous rendition of Bartok's Romanian Dances, Liu Fang and Michael O'Toole display stunning virtuosity and endless adaptability. The combination of pipa and guitar gives an incredibly fresh perspective to existing masterpieces by a wide range of composers from Vivaldi to Piazzolla. In addition to this, the recording contains beautifully sensitive performances of new works by Ian Wilson and Toshiuki Haraoki, marking the duo's commitment to new music. The varied nature of the repertoire on the cd shows how successful this combination can be in the hands of two such talented performers.

Press reviews...

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Label: Accords Croises / Harmonia Mundi | Cat. No.: AC116 | Release: 2006

Lo Son de Soie / Silk Sound
Traditional Chinese music and beyond
performed by

Liu Fang (guzheng and pipa), Alla (oud), Ballake Sissoko (Kora), and Henri Tournier (bansuri)
Le son de soie /silk sound - released in Paris, 2006
  1. High mountains and rippling waters (Guzheng solo, classical tradition)
  2. Jasmine flowers (guzheng and bansuri)
  3. The King Chu doffs his armour (pipa solo, classical tradition)
  4. Primary meeting (pipa and kora)
  5. The dragon boat (pipa solo)
  6. Gold-embroidered tapestry (guzheng solo)
  7. Kangding love-song (pipa and kora)
  8. Autumn moon over the calm lake (guzheng solo)
  9. Light wind in a cloud of falling snow-flakes (pipa and bansuri)
  10. Autumn moon over the Han imperial palace (pipa solo)
  11. A walk in the country of dreams (pipa and oud)
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Press Reviews

"... graceful, soft, yet powerful, ... Thus the joy of this album is not just in the supernaturally soothing and meditative quality of Fang’s pipa, but its merging with other meditative instruments from around the world, ..." - DailyOM, December 25, 2006.

"... a delicately embroidered album that reveals a remarkable cogency between instruments worlds apart. ..." (the whole text from Mondomix ...)

"... Liu Fang’s total devotion to her playing has moved her beyond perfect execution to the creativity and flexibility that marks a true musician. ... The duets here are based on traditional themes but are improvising dialogues. For me those with the kora, one based on a Songhai melody from Mali, the other on a traditional tune from Kanding in southwest China, have the most direction, flow and balance between the players, whereas while the oud and bansuri enrich the tone-colour palette those pieces seem rather more tentative. ..." (the comlete text ... )

"... infinite delicatesse ... a source of universal serenity" (the complete text ...)

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Label: ATMA Classique | Cat. No.: ATMA 2 2332 | Release: 2004

Mei Hua - Plum Blossoms
Traditional Chinese melodies interpreted on flute and guzheng (pipa)
performed by

Lise Daoust (flute) and Liu Fang (guzheng and pipa)

Music for anti-stress relaxing and meditation, and suitable for Taiji practice.

Flute and guzheng (pipa) Duet
  1. Gu Su Xing ( Walk In The City of Suzhou) (flute and guzheng)
  2. Ballad (flute)
  3. Mei Hua (Plum Blossoms) (flute, guzheng)
  4. Yi Dance (pipa)
  5. Yang Guan (flute, guzheng)
  6. Purple Bamboo Melody (flute)
  7. Perpetual Spring (flute)
  8. Greensleeves To A Ground (flute, pipa)
  9. Piece For Guzheng (guzheng)
  10. Eight-Segment Brocade (flute)
  11. Lady Meng Jiang (flute, guzheng)
  12. Su Wu Tends Sheep (flute)
  13. Chun Jiang (Spring River) (flute and guzheng)
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Press Reviews

Mei Hua. Lise Daoust, flute; Liu Fang, guzheng and pipa. Chinese traditional melodies (with an exception of "Greensleeves"). ATMA 2 2332.

by Véronique Robert, L'actualité, 2004

The musical meetings of East-Occident do not astonish any more, but they are not quite as happy as this one. The achievements of Lise Daoust, one of the best flutists Quebec has produced, are the opposite of the facility, because they all are based on research. She lent her breath to many contemporary composers, explored unusual territories, from the tango to the ragas of India. She collaborates here with a virtuoso star of two string instruments of the Chinese tradition, Liu Fang, established in Canada since 1996. Sometimes in solo, sometimes together, they deliver the melodies (bravo to the wonderful recording!) who, no, do not sound all similar when one tries hard to listen to them. Impressionist atmosphere and antistress (relaxing) effect guaranteed. Variations on "Greensleeves", this beautiful English melody of the 17th century - wink in Occident -, are ravissantes.

(Source:, title: Vents d’est, par Véronique Robert, L'actualité, 2004)

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Label: Philmultic | Cat. No.: PMPCD002-1 | Release: 2000

Arabic and Chinese music
for al-ud, pipa, guzheng and percussions

Liu Fang and Farhan Sabbagh

Arabic and Chinese music [1] Farhan Sabbagh: Maulbronn oud, pipa et percussion / ud, pipa and percussion 12:47
[2] Farhan Sabbagh: Al Ud al andalusi oud / ud solo 6:46
[3] Lin Shicheng: Dragon Boat Festival pipa solo 4:50
[4] Farhan Sabbagh: Homs oud, pipa et percussion / ud, pipa and percussion 9:30
[5] Jin Sha: Shepherd Maid pipa et oud / pipa and ud 3:14
[6] Italian Folk: I´o Vol bene oud et pipa / ud and pipa 1:45
[7] Chinese Folk: Jasmine flower zheng et oud / zheng and ud 6:22
[8] Wu Junsheng: The night of Bonfire pipa et/and percussion 5:11
[9] Zhao Dengshan: Chanting of Tie-Ma zheng solo 6:17
[10] Wang Fandi: The Spring on the Tianshan Mountain Pipa et/and percussion 3:16

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Press Reviews

  • "... But there can be no overlooking the spectacular instrumental closer that just burns down the house. Liu Fang on pipa & Farhan Sabbagh on mazhar, an open framed drum, take off on a supercharged dance blast called "Night of the Bonfire" that will burn the soles straight off your shoes..." - Barbara Flaska, PopMatters Music, 11 February 2004.

  • " ... Particularly touching is the soft "The Night of Bonfire," performed on the pipa (picked dulcimer) by Liu Fang, currently a resident of Canada. Performed with a wisp of percussion by Farhan Sabbagh, the delicate song races forward to a breakneck tempo by mid-song. Not bad for an artist in her 20s!" The Rough Guide To The Music Of China (World Music Network, 2003)

  • "I listened repeatedly to the "Arabic and Chinese Music" CD throughout the weekend. It is profoundly enjoyable every time. I keep hearing new rhythms and sounds as if I had never heard them before. It is satisfying to hear a group of instruments together, the way they relate, take turns, complement each other. These are master musicians at work, indeed." - Suzanne Stanton, USA

  • Parfums d'Orient - Liu Fang et Farhan Sabbaph, un dlicieux croisement Chine-Syrie, Le Soleil, DI 14 JULLIET 2000.

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Liu Fang solo albums