“White Lotus” (2018), an original score to the 1934 silent film “The Goddess.”
“White Lotus” was released in 2021. Performed by Min Xiao-Fen (pipa, sanxian, ruan, guqin and voice) and Rez Abbasi (guitar and electric guitar)
“From Harlem to Shanghai and Back” led me to do more research about the arts in Shanghai during the 1930s. I rediscovered the classic 1934 silent film “The Goddess,” directed by Wu Yonggang. In one of the most powerful silent performances of all time, the legendary actress Ruan Lingyu plays the role of a young prostitute working to raise her child and send him through school. “The Goddess” was dismissed as decadent by Chinese scholars during the Cultural Revolution, and still remains hidden. My goal was to create an innovative, soulful score, and I want more people to go see this great film.
Tracks include: “Aianca (Impermanence),” “Bija (Seed,)” “Champaka (The flower king),” “Dukkha (Suffering),” “Emaho (Expression),” “Faith,” “Gassho (Palms together),” “Hatha (Sun and moon),” “Ichie (Chance),” “Joriki (Power of the mind),” “Karuna (Compassion)” and “Lotus (A symbol of purity).”
*** “White Lotus” (The Goddess) has been performed at The Orange Peel (2021), The Museum of Modern Art, NYC (2021), Cornell University (2021), University of Pittsburgh (2018), Hamilton College (2019), ArtYard (2018) and Roulette (2018).
*** Min Xiao-Fen is also available for the residencies, lecture and workshop.
*** Min has taught master classes at the Juilliard School, Manhattan School of Music, Boston Conservatory, The New School, Columbia University, Yale University, P.S. 130 The Parkside School, Brooklyn Friends School, University of Oregon, Amsterdam Conservatory and University of Gothenburg, Washington Yu Ying Public Charter School, Brevard College, among many others.
Min Xiao-Fen’s solo project “Mao, Monk and Me”
Min Xiao-Fen: pipa, ruan, sanxian, voice and electronic
I was a little girl during the Chinese Cultural Revolution (1966-1976). The reformed Beijing Operas and folk songs I heard from the many regions were dedicated to the workers and soldiers. After moving to the United States, once again I was inspired – this time by Thelonious Monk.
*** Selected Program:
1,”Children’s Song”/”A Little Cowherder” (Thelonious Monk & Chinese folk song), arranged by Min Xiao-Fen
2,”Monk’s Mood” (Thelonious Monk, arranged by Min Xiao-Fen)
3,”Raise Four” (Thelonious Monk, arranged by Min Xiao-Fen)
4,”My Mother is on the Other Side of the Mountain” (Min Xiao-Fen)
5, “Mao Zedong” (Min Xiao-Fen)
6, “Misterioso” (Thelonious Monk, arranged by Min Xiao-Fen)
7, “Tan Tan, Chang Chang – Playing and Singing” (Min Xiao-Fen)
8, “Ask Me Now” (Thelonious Monk, arranged by Min Xiao-Fen)
9, “ABC” (Min Xiao-Fen)
*** “Mao, Monk and Me” has been performed at Jazz Journalists Association Award (2018), “100 Years of Monk “at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (2017), Museum of Chinese in America, (2017), An Die Music (2017), Brooklyn Conservatory (2017), New York Guitar Festival (2016), the Met Cloisters (2016), ELLNORA Guitar Festival (2015), Jazz at Lincoln Center (2003).
*** Selected Traditional Pipa Repertoire:
1, “Flying Flowers Touching the Green” (Traditional lyrical style)
2, “Jackdaws Playing in the Water” (Traditional lyrical style)
3, “Spring, River, Flower, Moon, Night” (Traditional lyrical style)
4, “Ambush from all Sides” (Traditional martial style)
5, “King Chu Sheds His Armor” (Traditional martial style)
6, “Sunny Spring, White Snow” (Traditional)
Min Xiao-Fen’s Blue Pipa Trio “From Harlem to Shanghai and Back”
Min Xiao-Fen, pipa, sanxian and voice; Dean Johnson, bass and Steve Salerno guitar
“From Harlem to Shanghai and Back” recasts the work of legendary jazz trumpeter Buck Clayton, Chinese composer Li Jinhui, Count Basie and Duke Ellington, along with Ms. Min’s own compositions.
Jazz trumpeter and composer Buck Clayton was a leading member of Count Basie’s Old Testament orchestra. He brought Kansas City Swing to Shanghai in the mid-1930s and worked closely with the father of Chinese popular music Li Jinhui, who contributed hundreds of songs to the Chinese musical canon. Clayton is credited for helping close the gap between American jazz and traditional Chinese music. His effect on Li’s music helped ushered in a brief era of “Chinese jazz” and helped change musical history.
1, “Horse Roundup” (Min Xiao-Fen)
2, “Buck Huckles Reunion” (Buck Clayton & Li Jinhui, arranged by Min Xiao-Fen & Steve Salerno)
3 , “Night of Moon” (Li Jinhui, arranged by Min Xiao-Fen & Steve Salerno)
4, “Moten Swing meets Li Juhui” (Count Basie & Li Jinhui, arranged by Steve Salerno)
5, “Blue and Sentimental/Tiger Knocking on the Door” (Count Basie & Li Jinhui, arranged by Min Xiao-Fen)
6, “Satin Doll, Shanghai Doll” (Duke Ellington & Chen Gexing, arranged by Min Xiao-Fen & Steve Salerno)
7, “Fascinating New Year” (George Gershwin, arranged by Min Xiao-Fen)
8, “Wildwood Flower” (American Bluegrass)
9, “Dancing with the Moon” (Min Xiao-Fen)
*** “From Harlem to shanghai and Back” has been performed at The Jazz Loft (2019), Louis Armstrong house Museum 50th anniversary of the original recording of “What a Wonderful World” (2018), Museum of Chinese in America (2013), Brooklyn Central Library (2014), Yale University (2014), Saint Peter Church (2013), Museum of Chinese in America (2013), Richmond Centerstage (2011).
“Echoes of Rhythm” (in progress): A Tribute to Randy Weston
Min’s latest project, “Echoes of Rhythm,” is dedicated to pianist and composer Randy Weston, an NEA Jazz Master who brought his legendary talents and wisdom to stages around the globe. He celebrated the impact of African culture on the world, including China. “Echoes of Rhythm” is a global trio with acclaimed musicians Maalam Hassan Benjaafar (guembri, qarqaba) and Alex Blake (bass). All of us were Mr. Weston’s long-term collaborators. The concert featured interpretations of his music, as well as original compositions.
Selected Program (in progress):
1, “The Shang” (Randy Weston and Min Xiao-Fen)
2, “Hero” (Min Xiao-Fen)
3, “Mystery of Love” (Randy Weston, arranged by Min Xiao-Fen)
5, “Aun Aun” (Randy Weston)
6, “Niger Mambo” (Randy Weston)
***Live performance audio and video:
1, “The Shang” composed and performed by Randy Weston (piano ) and Min Xiao-Fen (pipa)
2, “Niger Mambo” by Randy Weston, performed by Min Xiao-Fen (pipa), Maalam Hassan Benjaafar (guembri, qarqaba) and Alex Blake (bass)
*** “Echoes of Rhythm” premiered at Brooklyn Central Library in 2020.
Min Xiao-Fen & River Guerguerian — World-inspired Improvisation
The genre-blurring duets featuring pipa master Min Xiao-Fen and renowned percussionist River Guerguerian. These internationally acclaimed musicians forge fresh pathways of cross-cultural expression by using traditional instruments to create exotic new sounds.
Min Xiao-Fen, pipa, ruan, sanxian, guqin, sound effects and voice
River Guerguerian: Middle eastern and Indian frame drums, hand drums, Tibetan singing bowls, Chinese gongs, handpan marimba and voice
***Live performance videos:
“Three of a kind…who have turned their estimable skills on ancient instruments to modern ends.” – Time Out New York
The genre-blurring trio of Min Xiao-Fen, Wu Wei and Xu Fengxia – all extraordinary composers, performers, singers and children of the Chinese Culture Revolution – forge new pathways of cross-cultural expression by combining the exciting, exotic sounds of traditional instruments with free vocal expression. They have received universal acclaim for redefining their instruments and creating new music from Chinese traditional roots. Min/Wu/Xu has recorded three albums for the distinguished label China Music House: “Five Elements,” “Back to the Future” and “Zen on Misty Mountain and Deserted Valley.” They also performed at the Shanghai Jazz Festival, Gothenburg Art-Festival, Glatt & Verkehrt Festival in Krems, Shenzhen international Jazz Festival, Amsterdam-China Music Festival, Utrecht World Music Festival, Yangzhou Music Festival and many others.
Min Xiao-Fen, pipa, ruan and voice Wu Wei, sheng, erhu and voice Xu Fengxia, sanxian, guzheng and voice
Asian Sound Revolution: Jin Hi Kim, Min Xiao-Fen, and Susie Ibarra
Asian Sound Revolution, a new group featuring the virtuosic and specialized talents of Jin Hi Kim, Min Xiao-Fen, and Susie Ibarra. The group uses traditional Asian instruments to create innovative new sounds while referencing ancient aesthetics. Each musician is internationally acclaimed and known for pushing boundaries, bringing innovation to time-honored techniques, creating new sound on a diverse range of classic instruments and stylized vocal techniques. Asian Sound Revolution will perform all original music, including solos, duos and the world premiere of three pieces: Meditation, Souk al Henna, and JIN Opera.
Jin Hi Kim, Korean komungo, electric komungo, janggo
Min Xiao-Fen, Chinese pipa, sanxian, ruan, voice
Susie Ibarra, Philippine kulingtang, percussion
***Live performance audio: