Min Xiao-Fen – Pipa, Ruan, Sanxian, Sound effects, Voice
Rez Abbasi – Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar
Roulette hosts the world premiere of The Goddess, a 1934 Chinese silent film accompanied by a score from Min Xiao-Fen. The performance features Rez Abbasi on guitar and Min Xiao-Fen playing multiple Chinese plucked instruments and voice.
The Goddess (1934) is one of the most powerful silent films of all time and an early high point for Chinese cinema. The legendary actress Ruan Lingyu plays a nameless young “goddess,” as the movie describes the travails of a prostitute working to send her child through school. Min’s score references numerous genres, including Tibetan Buddhist chants, and seeks to traverse existing cultural and musical boundaries by creating a new work filled with deep and soulful musical expression.
Hailed by The New York Times as a “fearless practitioner of the pipa” and by the Village Voice as an artist who “has taken her ancient Chinese string instrument into the future,” Min Xiao-Fen was also the first Chinese artist invited by Lincoln Center to perform the work of legendary jazz pianist Thelonious Monk. Known for her virtuosity and fluid style, Ms. Min latest two projects From Harlem to Shanghai and Back with her Blue Pipa Trio and a newest solo album, Mao, Monk and Me, have redefined and expanded her instrument’s possibilities as an element for contemporary composition with traditional roots , tacking fluidly between the extended techniques of free improvisation, jazz, full-on noise and contemporary classical vocabulary. Min has been a curator at The Stone and the Museum of Chinese in America. In 2017, she was an artist-in-residence with the Vancouver International Jazz Festival and a guiding artist for the Creative Music Studio in New York. She is the founder of Blue Pipa Inc. and currently lives in New York City.
Voted #1 “Rising-Star Guitarist” in 2013’s DownBeat Critics Poll and successively in the “Top-Ten Guitarists” in 2015, 2016, and 2017 alongside Bill Frisell and Pat Metheny, guitarist and composer Rez Abbasi has become one of the most significant voices on the current jazz scene. “Abbasi is living, breathing proof that jazz music can be as vital and boundary-pushing as ever.” AllAboutJazz.com. Making New York home for the past 25 years, Abbasi has created a unique sound that is stimulated both by his jazz pedigree and South Asian upbringing. His arranging, playing and production work for vocalist Kiran Ahluwalia has helped her garner multiple Juno awards (Canadian Grammy). Unfiltered Universe, Abbasi’s new and twelfth album, featuring his stellar band Invocation, further solidifies his place in modern music circles. Along with receiving three grants from Chamber Music America, he was recently commissioned by the New York Guitar Festival to compose a new score to the 1929 silent Indian film A Throw of Dice, to be performed live by his film quintet. Rez Abbasi continues to find creative ways to enrich diverse audiences with his musical vision.