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Diplomatic ties bring musical harmony to Beijing

Yang Jing and the Pipa she played with drummer Pierre Favre


The 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Switzerland and China has been marked by a cultural event in Beijing featuring an unlikely combination of music instruments.

Swiss drummer Pierre Favre, regarded as one of Europe's most talented and versatile percussionists, teamed up for a series of concerts with Yang Jing, a virtuoso player of a traditional Chinese instrument, the Pipa.

Together they improvised their way with drums and the Pipa through musical dialogues which succeeded in sounding Asiatic to western ears and western to Chinese audiences.

Favre, who has played with many of the biggest names in world jazz, said afterwards: "Chinese melodies are amazing because of their cycles and sudden changes of tone and rhythm. It's something you find in no other culture."

The Pipa - which Yang Jing has played since the age of six - is a four-stringed pear-shaped lute introduced to China during the Han dynasty about 2,000 years ago. Considered the most difficult instrument in Chinese music, it can be used to interpret a variety of sounds, including running water, gongs and drums.


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