Bang on a Can All-Stars and Gong Linna
Cloud River Mountain
“The texts are rich with poignant stories of spiritual wanderings and everyday life……[Gong Linna] sang with art-music power and sheen”
– NY Times
A spectacular journey into Chinese myths and ancient poetry, Cloud River Mountain combines the stories of the past with the sounds of the future. Chinese vocal star Gong Linna joins New York’s electric Bang on a Can All-Stars in a brilliantly staged concert of new work co-composed by Lao Luo, and Bang on a Can co-artistic directors Michael Gordon, David Lang, and Julia Wolfe. Weaving together ancient Chinese storytelling and Western songwriting, Cloud River Mountain honors the “sound worlds” of both China and the West, fusing texts sung in both Mandarin and English with sophisticated chamber music, rock, folk, and jazz. Cloud River Mountain is inspired by the tales of gods spirits and the world of the Shamans from the Chu Ci Anthology (also known as Songs of the South) by the famous Chinese poet Qu Yuan. Cloud River Mountain offers an inspiring, poignant, and ultimately contemporary answer to the question of what a new and authentic collaboration of Chinese and American art music may provide.
View more videos from the 2017 performance at Lincoln Center.
More about Gong Linna:
Gong Linna, is a classically-trained Chinese singer (from Beijing) passionate about creating a new “Chinese Art Music” but who is also a very recognizable pop star in China. In 2010, her performance of the song Tan Te on Chinese national television to billions of viewers made her an over-night sensation, vaulting her to celebrity status. In recent years she has starred on television in China but she’s virtually unknown to the Western World.
More about The Cloud River Mountain:
For their brand new 21st Century collaboration, Lao, Gordon, Lang, and Wolfe chose first to reach back into ancient Chinese mythology, to tales of gods and spirits and the world of the Shamans from the Chu Ci Anthology (also known as Songs of the South) by the famous Chinese poet Qu Yuan. The combination of styles merge seamlessly in the infectiously melodic and groove-oriented title track “Lord in the Clouds” to the meditative “Girl with Mountain” and the rock-solid back-beat of “Into the Clouds”. In “He Bo”, Gong Linna demonstrates an unparalleled vocal command, while “River” aims to defy the entire ensemble with its relentless poly-rhythms and Gong Linna meets the added challenge of singing the piece in English. Hinting at the work’s universal appeal, the New York Times raved over “the extraordinary Chinese singer Gong Linna” in a review of the recent concert premiere, saying “Whether belting, keening or murmuring, insinuating or girlish, Ms. Gong is a star.”
Bang on a Can co-founder and composer Michael Gordon became mesmerized by Gong Linna during visits to China, originally having seen her on Chinese television and then having subsequently met her and her partner, composer Lao Luo. An original commissioning project consisting of 30 minutes of songs was performed on the Bang on a Can Marathon at the Winter Garden in New York in June, 2015. The disparate compositional styles of Lao Luo, Michael Gordon, Julia Wolfe and David Lang as interpreted by Gong Linna and the Bang on a Can All-Stars provided a remarkable musical moment for the audience. Based on this experience, Bang on a Can is developing Cloud River Mountain, an evening-length work featuring Gong Linna, her orchestra, and the Bang on a Can All-Stars.
Cloud River Mountain – audio
Read the NY Times Review from the 2017 performance at the Lincoln Center Festival.
“Cloud River Mountain was written for the virtuosic Ms. Gong and the Bang on a Can All-Stars ensemble, who performed this compellingly eclectic work on Friday night at the Gerald Lynch Theater.”