Sino-French musicians hit the right notes in China tour

Andrew Chin
Wang Wen frontman Xie Yugang and French guitarist Serge Teyssot-Gay take to the Yuyintang stage to promote their album "A Nano World," as part of the duo's eight-city China tour.
Andrew Chin

Indie band Wang Wen’s frontman Xie Yugang and French guitarist Serge Teyssot-Gay will take to the Yuyintang stage on May 19 to promote their debut disc, “A Nano World,” as part of the duo’s eight-city China tour.

“A Nano World,” a six-song ambient album, showcases the two guitarists’ talent, and it is sure to have the audience on their feet.

“‘A Nano World’ is a conversation with music between Serge and me,” Xie reveals. “We told stories to each other and improvised the other’s story with one’s own.”

Best-known for his work with the alternative rock group Noir Désir, Teyssot-Gay has enjoyed a great deal of commercial success, twice going double platinum in France.

Since leaving Noir Désir, Teyssot-Gay has collaborated with a range of artists, such as Syrian musician Khaled Aljaramani, double bass improvisational master Joëlle Léandre, underground rap group La Rumeur and award-winning French writer Lydie Salvayre.

He describes his work with Xie “a meeting, a junction and a confluence between two people who don’t speak the same language, but perfectly understand each other through music and who imagine a story talking with their instruments instead of their tongues.”

The project was sparked by a collaborative improvisational performance at the Echo Library in Dalian, northeast China’s Liaoning Province, during Teyssot-Gay’s 2016 China tour.

“The Dalian show was a suspended moment, a moment of pure jubilation,” Teysott-Gay says. “This moment when you know you are creating something beautiful and new with someone. And you feel you’ve known them for a long time. We were so happy after the show that we were totally drunk ─ drunk with alcohol but also with music.”

“I was still very hungover before the show, but while we played music I felt much better,” Xie adds. “Serge’s playing was like an experienced hunter, so it was very comfortable and smooth to play with him.”

Sino-French musicians hit the right notes in China tour
Ti Gong

Xie Yugang (right) and French guitarist Serge Teyssot-Gay (standing) in the recording studio in France

Following the show, the pair stayed up late in the night exchanging musical ideas. Exactly one year later, Xie flew to Paris where he recorded and mixed “A Nano World” with Teyssot-Gay and recording engineer Martial de Roffignac in one week.

“Honestly, I am a bad guitar player,” Xie laughs. “Serge is a genius with his Stratocaster. He has his unique way to play guitars, full of details, touches and textures. It is amazing he can easily switch into different styles of playing depending on the different musicians he is playing with.”

The two were eager to rekindle their partnership for the China tour. While they plan to use “A Nano World” as the template for the show, Teyssot-Gay promises it will be a unique experience.

“We love to improvise, to look for a thrilling sensation, which sends you into raptures the very moment when music is creating itself,” he says. “An intense sensation the public can share too, seeing and listening to this composition in real time performed without a safety net. I’m looking forward to it and I’m dying to play.”

Adding to the ambiance will be visual artist Yu Tian, who will be collaborating with the duo for the Yuyintang show.

“Yu Tian’s work is so cool,” Xie says. “People who come to the show will definitely have a special experience through the interactive effect from the visuals and the sound. I can’t always watch the visual part while playing on stage, but I can feel the atmosphere created by it, which is good to put me in a different mood.”

Following the China tour, Teyssot-Gay confirms the two plan to tour and release “A Nano World” in France next year. However, he remains coy about any additional future plans.

“Maybe,” he says. “We don’t know. We improvise too. Maybe ‘A Nano World’ is the beginning of a long story.”

Performance details

Date: May 19, 8:30pm
Tickets: 100-150 yuan
Venue: Yuyintang
Address: 851 Kaixuan Rd

Sino-French musicians hit the right notes in China tour
Ti Gong
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