Fri, Mar 10, 2006 - Page 14 News List

Wang Lee-hom debuts his East-West mix

By Joey Chung  /  CONTRIBUTING REPORTER

Wang Lee-hom will be breaking new ground this weekend with a hip hop meets Peking Opera show.

PHOTOS: TAIPEI TIMES

It's going to be an exciting, sweat-soaked weekend at the Taipei Arena as one of Taiwan's most famous musical artists, Wang Lee-hom (王力宏) takes to the stage.

Wang, who just a few months ago released his album Heroes of Earth (蓋世英雄), is scheduled to hold concerts on Saturday and Sunday. Afterward, Wang will perform in Hong Kong and Shanghai.

Heroes of Earth is one of the first albums to successfully blend traditional Chinese music with pop music or hip hop. Wang has borrowed heavily from Beijing opera to create a new form of music that has wowed his fans.

Wang has also asked his friends in the music industry to collaborate in creating this "new sound." As such, South Korea's current "it boy" Rain has dedicated his first Chinese song to Wang. Taiwan's May Day (五月天) and even the original Beijing opera singer behind Farewell my Concubine Yan Li (李岩) are also contributing.

Why the emphasis on traditional Chinese culture this time? And furthermore, why the concentration on Beijing opera as the main inspiration?

Wang, who grew up in the US, feels that through the eyes of most Westerners, the most symbolic emblems of Eastern culture are calligraphy, Chinese herbal medicine and Beijing opera. Therefore, what better way to express the magical musical powers of the East than Beijing Opera?

By including Chinese opera instruments such as the erhu fiddle, Chinese gongs, wooden clappers and performing with a rap rhythm and tempo, Wang hopes to show the world the sophistication of Chinese culture and add a new light-hearted perspective so that traditional opera music can be expressed and admired.

Yet for those who are already familiar with Wang and his songs, why go to the concert at all? What surprises can we expect from him on stage?

"There will be a total of 10 people making guest appearances, including England's Westlife, and Taiwan's Mayday," said Scott Hong (洪書傑) of Sony BMG.

"During the performance, including the different dancers, opera singers and martial arts performers, there will be as many as 100 people on stage. Wang has been furiously practicing wushu.

"Wang's band members were invited to contribute in the pre-production side of things and add to the evolution of the process, so that Saturday's concert may well be a very different affair from the one on Sunday."

The final touch for fans? "One of the songs was composed with the direct help of fans, and [Wang] is very much looking forward to the experience of singing the song hand-in-hand with his fans. For his fans and especially himself, it should be a very intimate and unforgettable experience," Sony's Hong said.

Fusion notes:

What: The 2006 Sony Ericsson Wang Lee-hom "Heroes of Earth" Concert (2006王力宏 蓋世英雄演唱會)

Where: Taipei Arena, 2, Nanjing E Rd, Sec 4, Taipei (台北市南京東路四段2號台北巨蛋)

When: Saturday (3/11) and Sunday (3/12), 7:30 PM

Tickets: Tickets cost between NT$800 to NT$3,000 and are available from ERA ticketing outlets nationwide

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