China

Participants

Jiangxi Province 江西

Cheng Yu 程昱, potter
Sun Lixin 孙立新, pottery painter

Qinghai Province 青海

Cairang Zhuoma 才让卓玛, hua’er singer
Suonan Sunbin 索南孙斌, hua’er singer

Shaanxi Province 陕西省

Fan Rongrong 樊蓉蓉, paper cutter
Gao Fenglian 高凤莲, paper cutter
Liu Jieqiong 刘洁琼, paper cutter

Tian Yali 田亚莉, paper cutter

Sichuan Province 四川省

Geluo Zhaxi 格洛扎西, singer
Li Xingxiu 李兴秀, embroiderer
Lin Macuo林玛磋, singer
Shi Maomao 石昴毛, singer
Zewang Renqing 泽旺仁青, singer

Tianjin 天津

Tianjin Yangliuqing Fine Arts Press天津杨柳青画
Tianjin Clay Figurine Zhang Studio 天津泥人张彩塑工作

Zhejiang Province 浙江省

Zhejiang Wu Opera Troupe 浙江婺剧团

United States 美国

The Shanghai Restoration Project
Abigail Washburn
Wu Man and Friends

Participating organizations and individuals from the Washington DC Metro area:
Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center
1882 Foundation
Asian American LEAD
BicycleSPACE
Busboys and Poets
Confucius Institute at George Mason University
East Rising Lion Dance Troupe
He Hongyi (paper cutter; professor of folklore, South-Central University for Nationalities, Wuhan, China)
Metro DC Area Go Clubs
The Newseum
Ling Tang (dancer and educator)
US Wushu Academy
John Shun-Chieh Wang (calligrapher, seal engraver)
Wings Over Washington Kite Club
The Wong People Kung Fu Association
Cedric Yeh (National Museum of American History)
Xuejuan Dance Ensemble


Yue Ying

Click to enlarge and view captions

Anhui Province 安徽省

Flower Drum Lantern (Hua Gu Deng) is a folk art form that blends dance, songs, drama, and percussive music. It is popular in the area of the Huai River, which is generally regarded as a geographical dividing line between North and South China. Traditionally, Flower Drum Lantern is performed at temple fairs, usually after the autumn harvest. In recent years, it has also been adopted by urban people who gather to dance in communities or squares as a daily exercise.

Yue Ying 岳颖 was born in Fengtai, Anhui Province, which is a center of the art of Flower Drum Lantern. Yue started training in Flower Drum Lantern at age nine, and then went on to study choreography at the Beijing Dance Academy, which enabled him to add contemporary choreographic ideas to the traditional art form. Yue has performed in a number of countries and appeared at the 2013 Chinese American Festival featuring Anhui Province on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

Guo Yujie 郭玉洁 studied at the Fengtai Flower Drum Lantern Art School before she became a professional dancer with the Jiangsu Provincial Song and Dance Theater. She has performed at such occasions as the opening and closing ceremonies of the Second Asian Youth Games in Nanjing in 2013.

Beijing 北京

Beijing Sports University’s highly competitive martial arts program was established in 1957 to pass on the traditional sport and its philosophy of mind and movement harmony. Professor Li Qiaoling 李巧玲 graduated and has taught traditional martial arts at the university for over thirty years. Li is the fifth generation of masters in the Shanxi xingyiquan technique, a unique martial arts style. She teaches other styles and routines such as tai chi and animal-mimicking forms. Li will be joined by two of her students, Chai Yunlong柴云龙 and Tian Mengyi 田梦艺, who have both won national and international awards. Chai was the Tai Chi Champion at the Twelfth World Wushu (Martial Arts) Championships.

Ha Yiqi 哈亦琦 is a fourth-generation kite maker whose family has been making kites in Beijing since the late 1800s. A talented artist, Ha studied both Western and traditional Chinese-style painting and was hired in 1980 by the newly formed Beijing Kite Association. After twelve years there, he started his own kite design company. Through the years, Ha has been methodically working to document and recreate all 250 or so of his father and grandfather’s designs, which he plans to eventually donate to the government. In 2008, Ha kites were inscribed on the national list of intangible cultural heritage. To insure that the family tradition continues, Ha has taken his nephew, Ha Xin 哈歆, as an apprentice.

Wang Peng 汪鹏 is from Huai’an, Jiangsu Province, home to one of the most influential cuisines in China, the Huaiyang style. Since finishing his studies in the Yizhou Chef School, he has worked as the head chef in many fine restaurants. He has been honored for his expertise in Huaiyang cuisine, which is characterized by artistic presentation as well as original tastes. In 2010, he received the title of Culinary Master of China from the China Hotel Association.

Yang Guangxin 杨广馨 is a calligrapher and director of the Art Center at the Beijing Institute of Education Sciences. He is currently a member of the council of the China Calligraphers’ Association and vice chairman of the Beijing Calligraphers’ Association. He edited the Art and Calligraphy Textbook for Beijing Elementary and Middle Schools and is the author of General Knowledge of Calligraphy, as well as many calligraphy copybooks.

Zhang Baolin 张宝琳 has been creating dough models since the 1970s, when he apprenticed with the dough modeling master Lang Shaoan in Beijing. Using dough made from flour or glutinous rice, he can create models in as short as fifteen minutes, and more complex ones in an hour. He has traveled and demonstrated his art both nationally and internationally. He is a Beijing municipal-level intangible cultural heritage bearer.

Zhao Yuman 赵玉曼 of Shaanxi Province is a senior pastry chef. Educated at the Shaanxi Culinary School, Zhao has acquired expertise in preparing both Asian cuisines and Western pastries. She is especially skilled at making Huaiyang-style pastries, which typically utilize noodles, decorative buns and pastries, flour-based figurines, and pancakes. Her signature dishes include Huaiyang tea crispy dough twists, soup dumplings, dough sculptures, sugar modelings, and Cantonese-style desserts.

Fujian Province 福建省

Quanzhou, the starting point of the Maritime Silk Road, is famous for its puppet tradition of more than one thousand years. Quanzhou’s marionette repertoire consists of more than 700 traditional plays and some 300 “puppet tunes” played with ancient instruments such as the “foot-pressed drum.” Founded in 1952 as the main inheritor of the city’s marionette tradition, the Quanzhou Puppet Troupe has revived and created a great number of works and toured nearly fifty countries and regions in the world.

Chen Luanzhi 陈銮治, string puppeteer
Chen Zhijie 陈志杰, musician, chief drum, traditional Chinese percussion instrument
Dai Xun 戴勋, string puppeteer
Fu Duanfeng 傅端凤, string puppeteer
Huang Dasheng 黄达生, musician, traditional Chinese percussion instrument , guitar, er’hu (string instrument)
Huang Wenjun 黄文君, string puppeteer
Huang Zhenlong 黄贞龙, musician, aizai (string instrument), er’hu
Li Xiaohui 李小惠, string puppeteer
Lin Jianyu 林建裕, string puppeteer, percussion instrument
Shen Suge 沈苏革, string puppeteer
Wang Jinxian 王景贤, director, presenter
Wu Jilian 吴季莲, musician, pipa (Chinese lute)
Wu Weihong 吴伟宏, string puppeteer
Xu Shaowei 许少伟, string puppeteer
Xu Ziming 许子铭, musician, flute
Zeng Kaiyu 曾凯瑜, musician, sheng (pipe wind instrument)
Zhang Gong 张弓, string puppeteer

Gansu Province 甘肃省

Hua’er is a form of folksongs popular among several ethnic groups in northwestern China. Literally meaning “flower,” it may have received its name from the image of a flower symbolizing one’s beloved woman. Many hua’er songs begin with metaphoric and symbolic depictions of scenery, before developing into the real theme, which may be young love, the hard work and weariness of the farming life, and the foibles of men and women. The music is drawn from an extensive traditional repertoire named after ethnicities, towns, or flowers. The lyrics are improvised in keeping with certain rules. From Gansu Province, Kong Weifang 孔维芳 has sung hua’er since childhood. She won the Silver Award at the Western China Hua’er Competition in 2006 and released her first album last year.

Liu Lanfang 刘兰芳 is a sachet maker and embroiderer from Qingyang, Gansu Province. She has been interested in these crafts since childhood and formally studied with two well-known folk artists, Wang Guanqing from Gansu and Wang Guangpu from Beijing. She is the manager and designer of Qingyang Qihuang Culture and Communications Ltd., where she has focused on designing, researching, and teaching folk culture products. In 2013, Liu was designated an intangible cultural heritage bearer at the Qingyang municipal level. She has won many national prizes and in 2013 was recognized as “Female Entrepreneur” by the Gansu Provincial People’s Government.

Guizhou Province 贵州省

Dimen Dong Cultural Eco-Museum in Guizhou Province was founded in the early 2000s. Working in collaboration with fifteen local Dong villages and forty-six clans, the museum works to safeguard indigenous Dong embroidery, architecture, and musical traditions, ensuring local participation in protecting and developing the region’s cultural ecology as access to the villages increases.

Ren Hexin 任和昕, Dimen Dong Eco-Museum director
Du Kexin 杜科欣, 100 Songs Program director and tradition handcraft researcher
Wu Zhangshi 吴章仕, Dong musician and music teacher
Wu Bixia 吴碧霞, singer, embroiderer, and weaver
Wu Guoying 吴国英, singer and tradition handcraft artist
Wu Qianchun 吴前春, musician and instrument maker
Wu Taoai 吴桃爱, singer and tradition handcraft artist
Wu Xiuchun 吴秀春, singer, embroiderer, and weaver
Wu Taonan 吴桃难, singer and tradition handcraft artist
Wu Yuanliang 吴元亮, singer and tradition handcraft artist.

Guizhou Province 贵州省

The Leishan Miao Music and Dance Group, assembled for the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, consists of six musicians, singers, and dancers from Leishan county in southeastern Guizhou Provice. The Miao are an ethnic group residing primarily in the mountainous areas of southern China, especially Guizhou Province. They also live in neighboring countries as well as in the United States and Australia, where they are more generally known as the Hmong.

Yang Zhengchao 杨证超, lusheng player
Mo Ming 莫铭, lusheng maker and player
Liang Xiaoying 梁晓英 singer and dancer
Wu Chunhua 吴春花,singer and dancer
Li Lan 李兰, singer and dancer
Li Lingting 李灵婷, singer and dancer

Pan Yuzhen 潘玉珍 is an embroiderer originally from Guizhou Province and currently based in Beijing. She began learning the embroidery traditions of her ethnic Miao community from her mother when she was seven years old. She has lived in Beijing since the 1970s, selling embroidery in Panjiayuan Market, the largest antique market in the city. In Miao communities, embroiderers record their history and culture in the embroidery on their clothing. It can take four to five years to make a fine handmade piece of embroidered clothing—from making the cloth, cultivating the silk worms, and dyeing the cloth and threads to the embroidery itself. She has participated in the Santa Fe Craft Market for eight years and has been featured in a book called An Shen Daji. At the Festival, she is joined by her daughter, Zhang Hongying 张红英.

A scholar from Kaili, Guizhou Province, Yang Wenbin 杨文斌 has been researching and promoting ethnic folk arts, including those of his own Miao community, since the 1960s. His field research has focused on clothing art and craft of ethnic minority groups in southwestern, central, and southern China. He also practices Miao traditional batik, botanic dyeing, and silver decoration. In the 1980s he helped to establish the Guizhou Qiandongnan Region Ethnic and Folk Craft Research Institute and served as its director. His current research focuses on the eco-social meaning and sustainability of botanic dyeing, and he authored the books Miao Traditional Batik and Guizhou Batik.

Heilongjiang Province 黑龙江省

Originally from Harbin in Heilongjiang Province and ethnic Korean, Jin Yuanshan 金媛善 first learned patchwork/quilting from her mother and grandmother. Her patchwork designs are influenced not only by her Korean heritage but also by the traditional needlework of other ethnic groups she has researched. Her designs have been featured in patchwork exhibitions in Japan, South Korea, and the United States. She has lectured at Tsinghua University’s Academy of Art and Design in Beijing.

From Mudanjiang city in Heilongjiang Province, Sun Yanling 孙艳玲 learned embroidery from her grandmother and mother but initially worked as a makeup artist for film and television projects. While lecturing in Japan on makeup, she was asked by a teacher to locate examples of fine embroidery; the embroidery of her grandmother proved most suitable, which led Sun to establish her own company that specializes in and maintains the traditions of Bohai Mohe embroidery. Bohai and Mohe both refer to ancient kingdoms, people, and places in the historical region of Manchuria.

Hong Kong 香港

Wing Kei Flower Shop 榮基花店 is a workshop in New Territories, Hong Kong, that specializes in making traditional bamboo structures for rituals, anniversaries, restaurant openings, and other special occasions. Owner Choi Wing Kei learned the craft from his father who had been a bamboo scaffold worker before shifting his focus to making flower plaques for the next several decades. Choi started working with his father when he was thirteen years old, and he established the business—which he runs with his brother—in the mid-1990s. This is one of only a handful of such businesses in Hong Kong that have the knowledge and skills to work in all aspects of bamboo structure-building, from scaffolding to ritual structures and temporary theaters. The flower plaque was constructed by craftsmen Choi Wing Kei, Chau Kai Ho, Kan Chung Chi, Nai Tsun Lam, and Sit Kar Lok.

Danny Ning Tsun Yung 榮念曾is a founding member and co-artistic director of Zuni Icosahedron, an experimental multi-arts and culture organization based in Hong Kong, and chairperson of the Hong Kong Institute of Contemporary Culture. Recognized as an artistic pioneer and creative leader, he produces work and collaborations in different media including animation, film and video, visual and installation art, and performance. Yung studied architecture and urban planning in the United States and co-founded the seminal Asian American arts organization Basement Workshop in New York’s Chinatown before returning to Hong Kong in the mid-1970s. Since the 1990s, Yung has been collaborating with master and emerging artists on bringing traditional performing arts into contemporary theater. He is recognized for his involvement in international cultural exchange and policy work, including as laureate of the 2014 Fukuoka Arts and Culture Prize.

Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region 内蒙古自治区

Originally from the prairie of Inner Mongolia, the seven-member group Ih Tsetsn is based in Beijing, once capital of the Mongol-ruled Yuan Dynasty and now increasingly a center of Mongolian music in China. The name Ih Tsetsn means “broad, inclusive, and wise” in the Mongolian language. Ih Tsetsn performs khoomei throat-singing and long song, two genres that have been inscribed on UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. They have studied not only Mongolian music but various other genres as well. As a result, Ih Tsetsn is able to perform traditional music in a more contemporary ensemble form.

Zhang Shijun 张世军, morin khuur, khoomei
Jirigala 吉日嘎拉, morin khuur, khoomei
Baiyinmenghe 白音孟和, morin khuur, khoomei
Baoyin 宝音, percussion, khoomei
Boerzhijinfu 博尔之金夫, khoomei
Alatenggaridi 阿拉腾嘎日迪, qobuz, khoomei
Dabuxilatu 达布希拉图, qobuz, long song

Jiangsu Province 江苏省

Cai Meiying 蔡梅英 learned embroidery at a young age from women in her family and trained formally at the Suzhou Embroidery Research Center under master Wang Zhuzhi, and has been practicing this craft for more than thirty years. Her embroidery incorporates coloring from modern art, as well as Chinese classic embroidery techniques. She uses a special technique to dye the threads, which are made of silk. She has been featured in many national and local television programs, and plays an active role in training new generations of Suzhou embroiderers in Jiangsu Province.

Zhang Wenzhi 张文智 is a kite maker from Gangzha District, Nantong City, Jiangsu Province. Growing up, he became interested in the craftsmanship of the region’s distinctive banyao (board snipe) whistle kite—large kites fitted with carved bamboo or gourd whistles that sound in the wind when carried aloft. After a career as a military pilot, he returned to Nantong and dedicated himself to researching banyao kites. For ten years, he visited and studied building techniques with local kite makers. Zhang promotes banyao kites through demonstrations, lectures, and by working to encourage kite-flying as a municipal activity.

Jiangxi Province 江西省

Cheng Yu 程昱 promotes pottery culture and events in Jiangxi Province, primarily with graduates from the Jingdezhen Pottery and Porcelain Academy. In 2002, he established the Cheng Li Pottery Promotion Center, which facilitates pottery education and organizes events in kindergartens, elementary schools, high schools, and other venues in Shanghai, Guangzhou, Wuhan, and Beijing. He graduated from Jiangxi Normal University and received second prize for his porcelain in the Guangdong Craft Exhibition.

A specialist in porcelain painting, Sun Lixin 孙立新 is the fourth generation of his family to work at the Sungong Kiln in Jingdezhen, Jiangxi Province. His great-grandfather, Sun Hongyuan, developed techniques for high-temperature porcelain firing and under-glaze coloring. His grandfather, Sun Zhendong, specialized in pottery-throwing as well as making blue-and-white porcelain with red color. His father, Sun Tongxin, is a Jiangxi Provincial Master of Folk Art, who excels in making porcelain with under-glaze color.

Qinghai Province 青海省

Hua’er is a form of folksongs popular among several ethnic groups in northwestern China. Literally meaning “flower,” it may have received its name from the image of a flower symbolizing one’s beloved woman. Many hua’er songs begin with metaphoric and symbolic depictions of scenery, before developing into the real theme, which may be young love, the hard work and weariness of the farming life, and the foibles of men and women. The music is drawn from an extensive traditional repertoire named after ethnicities, towns, or flowers. The lyrics are improvised in keeping with certain rules. Suonan Sunbin 索南孙斌 is a Tibetan singer from Qinghai Province, who has been singing hua’er songs since age seven. When he was a teenager, he left home and worked at mines, construction sites, and restaurants, before he began to study at Qinghai Culture and Arts Academy in 1999. He has since released several albums and performed both nationally and internationally. Cairang Zhuoma 才让卓玛 is a Tibetan singer from Qinghai Province who has won a number of awards, including the Silver Award at the Folksongs Competition of Northwestern China in 2003.

Shaanxi Province 陕西省

Gao Fenglian 高凤莲, Liu Jieqiong 刘洁琼, and Fan Rongrong 樊蓉蓉 represent three generations of a family’s long involvement in the paper cutting and embroidered patchwork traditions in Yanchuan county, Shaanxi Province. Gao learned these crafts from her mother and grandmother, and in the mid-1930s, when the family could barely afford scraps of paper, the young Gao honed her craft by cutting leaves. Gao joined the Communist Party at age fourteen and married two years later in 1951. Without a formal education and discouraged by her in-laws from working at the nearby embroidery factory, she nonetheless continued her craft in her village commune, where she later became Party Secretary. Even in the early days of China’s reform in the 1980s, when she had more time at her disposal, Gao balanced her artwork with her other duties tilling the land.

Today she is formally recognized as a national-level representative bearer of intangible cultural heritage, and her intricate paper cutting patterns are created with no prior sketching. At the Festival, she is joined by her youngest daughter, Liu Jieqiong, and granddaughter Fan Rongrong. All three have led public demonstrations in universities and cultural centers in China, New Zealand, Germany, Israel, and Switzerland.

Tian Yali 田亚莉 is a paper cutter from Yijun County, Tongchuan City, Shaanxi Province. A versatile artist, she is proficient in many traditional crafts—including embroidery, painting, and making sachets and edible dough figurines for festivals. Raised in a farming family, her skills as a paper cutter were established locally by the age of twenty when she provided all the decorations for her brother’s wedding. When a 1980s government census of folk artists recognized her, she received training from the local culture bureau. Her work is considered representative of the rural culture of the Yellow River region, but she has also created innovative new styles and designs.

Sichuan Province 四川省

The Qiang people live mostly in valleys in western Sichuan Province, which was severely damaged by an earthquake in 2008, thereby threatening the continuity of Qiang culture. Today there are relatively few who can still sing these ancient songs, which document the history of the Qiang people. Zewang Renqing 泽旺仁青 and Geluo Zhaxi 格洛扎西 are brothers who learned Qiang polyphonic singing while herding cattle with their parents. In 2006, Zewang and Geluo won the bronze prize at the CCTV National Youth Singers’ Competition and have since toured internationally. For the Folklife Festival, the brothers are joined by their wives Shi Maomao 石昴毛 and Lin Macuo 林玛磋 to recreate the atmosphere of local wine parties with songs and dances.

Li Xingxiu 李兴秀 is an embroiderer, designer, and entrepreneur from the village of Pinggou, Mao County, Sichuan Province. She first learned the embroidery traditions of her Qiang ethnic community from her mother when she was six years old. Since 2003, her company, Qiang Village Embroidery Workshop, has employed local embroiderers to produce her designs and patterns. Following the 2008 Sichuan earthquake, which seriously impacted Qiang villages, she has focused on training others. In 2011 she published the first book for teaching Qiang embroidery stitches and techniques.

Tianjin 天津

The Yangliuqing Fine Arts Press in Tianjin is a state-owned company with more than fifty craftsmen working on different parts of the New Year’s printmaking process. Three of those craftsmen are participating in the Festival: Chen Yuhua 陈玉华, painter; Gao Yan 高筵, outliner; and Wang Wenda 王文达, carver.

Gao Yan has been with the company since 2008. He specializes in creating the outline of the image on thin sheets of rice paper, which are then adhered to the wood block and used as the guide for carving. Chen Yuhua has worked in the company for more than twenty years, specializing in hand-painting additional color to the images after they have been printed. Wang Wenda, who has been with the company for more than 50 years, is a senior carver who cuts the images from the woodblocks. He was designated in 2006 as a national-level representative bearer of intangible cultural heritage by the Chinese Ministry of Culture.

The Tianjin Clay Figurine Zhang Workshop is a state-owned company with about thirty artists devoted to the research and production of painted clay figurines. Two of these artists are participating in the Festival: Fu Xinyue 富心悦 and Zhao Jianwu 赵建武. Both have extensive experience with the two primary processes of figurine making: first shaping and sculpting clay into a wide range of subjects and then painting the figurines after they have been dried and polished. One of the workshop’s distinguishing characteristics is its production of realistic figurines that represent common people.

Zhejiang Province 浙江省

With a history spanning more than four centuries, Wu Opera originated in Wuzhou, now Jinhua, in eastern China’s Zhejiang Province. While artists from Anhui Province traveled north to perform in Beijing in the late eighteenth century and laid the foundation for Peking Opera, Wu Opera represented another branch of the same root, which had traveled eastward two centuries earlier. Founded in 1956, the Zhejiang Wu Opera Troupe 浙江婺剧团 has both revived traditional works and created new works. The troupe’s performances represent a synthesis of music, dance, and acrobatics. The troupe has performed in Argentina, Austria, Brazil, Cuba, France, Germany, Japan, Romania, Singapore, Thailand, United Kingdom, United States, and Vietnam.

Chen Meilan 陈美兰, vocalist and operatic performer
Chen Xiaojian 陈晓建, operatic martial arts performer
Chen Xingshun 陈兴顺, operatic martial arts performer
Dong Guojian 董国建, operatic martial arts performer
Du Xiangjun 杜湘君, musician, huihu/er’hu (string instruments)
Hu Dongxiao 胡东晓, operatic martial arts performer and face changing, a tradition adopted from Sichuan opera
Jiang Quanqing 姜泉清
Liu Fuming 刘福明, operatic martial arts performer
Lou Sheng 楼胜, vocalist, operatic performer and operatic martial arts performer
Song Baoduan 宋保端, operatic martial arts performer
Tao Yongjing 陶永晶, operatic martial arts performer
Wang Xiaoping 王晓平, director
Wu Yanxing 武延兴, operatic martial arts performer
Xie Linghui 谢玲慧
Yang Xiayun 杨霞云, vocalist, operatic performer, operatic martial arts performer
Yan Jianglei 严江雷, musician, hulusi (bottle gourd flute)/suona (wind instrument)/flute
Zhao Kongjie 赵孔杰, operatic martial arts performer
Zhou Cong 周聪, operatic martial arts performer
Zhu Xinheng 朱新恒
Zou Yiqiang 邹毅强, operatic martial arts performer

United States 美国

Drawing its inspiration from jazz bands in Shanghai during the 1920s and 1930s, the Shanghai Restoration Project is renowned for its creative blend of Chinese culture with Western hip-hop and electronica. The group’s evening performance at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival on June 29 will feature Dave Liang, an Emmy award-winning producer who created the group in 2005; Jamahl Richardson, a music and video producer; and Zhang Le 张乐, a jazz singer from Shanghai.

Abigail Washburn is an American clawhammer banjo player and singer who performs as a soloist and with bands such as Uncle Earl, a bluegrass quartet, and the Sparrow Quartet, combining old-time music with Chinese lyrics and melodies. Recently named the first U.S.-China Fellow at Vanderbilt University, Washburn is one of the few foreign artists currently touring China regularly and independently. In 2009, she released a fundraiser CD Afterquake with Dave Liang for Sichuan earthquake victims. In 2013, she debuted Post-American Girl, a theatrical work that draws from her seventeen-year relationship with China.

For the last three decades, performer and composer Wu Man 吴蛮 has been a leading ambassador for Chinese music, blending traditional and contemporary elements through the pipa, a four-stringed plucked lute. Born in Zhejiang Province, she has been featured on two Smithsonian Folkways albums: Music of Central Asia: Borderlands (2012), for which she collaborated with Hui, Tajik, and Uyghur musicians, to explore connections between the musical worlds of China and Central Asia, and The Silk Road: A Musical Caravan (2002). For her Smithsonian Folklife Festival evening performance on July 5, Wu Man is joined by Haruka Fujii, an acclaimed percussionist from Japan who has performed with Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road ensemble, and Yang Yi 杨艺, a leading virtuoso on zheng, the Chinese twenty-one-string zither, who directs the Yang Yi Guzheng Academy.

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