Musicians continue to do incredible work with the wonderful guzheng. This page is a quick directory of what’s new to help you find new music. I’ll add new albums as become aware of them. Have an album you want to have added? Send an email through the form below.
The Art of the Chinese Guzheng by Wu Mengmeng - March 2019
This is a great introduction to the traditional guzheng repertoire by a modern performer recorded with modern equipment. London-based Wu Mengmeng performs 12 songs from across the traditional guzheng repertoire. These are clean recordings of well-performed songs that you may well play yourself.
Produced by world music publisher ARC Music in London, The Art of the Chinese Guzheng is their 15-year follow-on to their 2004 The Art of the Chinese Harp. That 2004 album (available on most streaming services and YouTube) was performed by Xiao Ying and featured 13 similar but completely different songs from across the traditional repertoire.
Whispering Fragrance by Steven Yip - August 2018
Whispering Fragrance is a 67-minute long collection of 6 works composed by Hong Kong / USA-based Stephen Yip. The guzheng features in mainly just the first track “Ding”. To my untrained ear this album would be considered “Experimental”. The focus is not on melody or flow as much as it is on interesting bursts of sound. You can listen to samples on the album’s webpage.
The guzheng player is Yu-Chen Wang, a graduate of Tainan National University of the Arts, who was playing with the Suzhou Chinese Orchestra as of 2017. You can read more about her and the 13 other musicians featured on this album on the publisher’s site, Navona Records. A free copy of this album was sent to GZA with the explicit request we share it with the community, so here it is!
Instruments: Many Western and Chinese…
Year of the Funky by Bei Bei and Shawn Lee - May 2017
This is the album that got me into modern guzheng compositions. It remains one of my favorites. Produced by two incredible musicians with extensive Hollywood credits to their name (spoiler: you’ve heard their music) Year of the Funky is the joyous result of one of the most skilled and accomplished guzheng players in the United States, Bei Bei, combining her expertise with the prodigious multi-instrumentalist that is Shawn Lee. I can’t possibly o ether musician justice so please check out their personal websites.
This 2017 album was produced in association with Légère Recordings.
Genre: Fusion and Funk
Instruments: Guzheng, drums, bass, electric guitar…