Festival to bring music from 18 countries to Shanghai

Shanghai World Music Festival returns with world music from 18 countries and regions in the hope of stirring your soul.
Wang Rongjiang / SHINE

Shanghai-based band Star performs at the opening ceremony at Sky Lab in Ruihong Tiandi.

Shanghai World Music Festival returns at the end of September, bringing with it music from 18 countries and regions. This year’s festival runs from September 23 to October 7, with 68 performances that will surely stir your soul.

Sky Lab in Ruihong Tiandi in northeast Shanghai's Hongkou District held the opening ceremony of the festival on September 6 with Star, a Shanghai-based 7-member band, performing on stage. 

Star uses both Western and traditional Chinese instruments to compose, trying to show that music has no boundary or border.

This year's lineup will include German Record Critic’s Award winner Renaud Garcia-Fons Trio; Rough Trade Top 100 album nominee Imarhan; British folk singer  Fay Hield who's the winner of Best Group and Best Album at the 2013 BBC Folk Awards; and Ukrainian "ethnic chaos" band DakhaBrakha. 

Famous Greek-based band En Chordais Ensemble will bring the breeze from the Mediterranean to Shanghai, while Tarabband from Sweden plans to tell war stories through Arabic music.

If these big names still don't ring any bells with Chinese audiences, surely many in the Yangtze River Delta area have heard of Gao Bowen, arguably the most famous pingtan artist. 

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Pingtan artist Gao Bowen

Pingtan is an improvisational oral performance art, normally accompanied by pipa (four-stringed Chinese musical instrument) and sanxian (three-stringed fretless plucked musical instrument). 

Gao will perform on October 2. 

Gao, head of Shanghai Pingtan Association, has been dedicated to bringing changes to this traditional art form, adding jazz and rock elements to his previous performances.

Then what surprise will he bring to audiences this time?

“I have prepared different styles targeting different groups. The elderly don’t want any changes, while the younger generation has no interest in slow tunes,” Gao said. “But normally pingtan is performed in a quiet indoor place, enjoyed with a nice cup of tea. So even I’m not sure whether the audiences of the music festival will like it.”

Well-known Chinese pop singer and music producer Li Quan is also set to perform.

The music festival will hold different performances in downtown Xintiandi, Hongqiao Tiandi and Shanghai Grand Theater. Also on offer are workshops and opportunities to interact with the artists afterward.


Follow the official WeChat account of Shanghai Xintiandi (xintiandiSH) for updated information and schedule.

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