RTV sits down with Min Xiao-Fen while she performs several Chinese folk tunes on her pi’pa, a lute-like instrument from China.
Her performance, exhibiting her flawless techniques, begins with the traditional instrumental Flower Falling on Green Grass. She then sings a traditional folk tune Send Me A Rose in a voice filled with gentle but heart-rending pathos. This segues into her original composition, Cold Fire, a spine-tingling improvisation on a second pi’pa equipped with a movable bamboo bridge. She discusses the history and construction of the ancient pi’pa, the Chinese nomenclature of contrasting physical materials used in musical instruments, and the constant needs to travel around the world as an artist.
Aired on rTV: 2000
Performance date: 05/04/1997
Episode digital release date: 04/28/2010
Host: Phoebe Legere
Produced by Jim Staley
Min Xiao-Fen from Nanching, China, is a major performer on the Chinese lute-like stringed instrument called the pi’pa. She has played traditional and classical Chinese music with major orchestras throughout the world. A gifted improviser and composer of experimental music, Min has performed with such avant-garde instrumentalists as John Zorn, Derek Bailey, George Lewis, Ned Rothenberg, and Randy Weston.