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Taoist music performed in Shanghai

2013-11-13 16:10:28




Music has long had deep ties with religion. Church choirs and Buddhist songs are among many ways that people demonstrate their piety. That’s also true for followers of China’s only home-grown religion - Taoism. This weekend, Taoists from China and Singapore staged a concert in Shanghai.

These Taoists from Singapore are performing a kind of Chinese music that is more than a thousand years old. It’s a song asking the gods for a blessing. Although the performance was not part of the ongoing international arts festival, the Singaporean Taoists say that doesn’t matter.

"We just want to promote this kind of music to average people. The music is relaxing. It can help audience members open their minds and reduce their stress," said Wen Chongxuan, Singaporean taoist.

Wen and fellow practitioners from Singapore and Shanghai have presented their show to nearly 1000 people in Shanghai. Even though Taoism was born in China, many people say they don’t know much about Taoist music...but they say they can tell it’s different.

"I never heard Taoist music before and want to feel the charm of our home-grown religion. And its really elegant and like the music of nature," said Jiang Jin, audience member.

"It sounds like traditional Chinese music. Its very peaceful, magnificent and solemn," said Zhang Yuemi, audience member.

One of the show’s producers says in order to make this kind of intangible cultural heritage easier for the general public to understand, they have incorporated some non-Taoist elements.

"When we put the Taoist music on stage, we add some stage design to make it more like a musical play. That can make it more artistic and ornamental. We also combine the Taoist musical instruments with some well-known traditional Chinese ones that people may find familiar," said professor Liu Hong, Shanghai conservatory of music.

Liu says before the performance in Shanghai, the group had toured France and Belgium. He says the Shanghai Taoists are now preparing for two concerts next year - one in southwestern China’s Sichuan province and another in Singapore.

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