matteo (by tiger in a jar)
Matteo is a band that plays a combination of Western and Chinese instruments including gu zheng ( 古筝, also known as a zither), ma tou qin (马头琴), er hu (二胡), and liu qin (柳琴).
They’re currently trying to raise funds on Kickstarter to be artists-in-residence at Sichuan University. Their music is pretty impressive, especially since they’re self-taught on the Chinese instruments.
I have a soft spot for traditional Chinese music, because I have really great memories of listening to old songs with my dad. I don’t listen to it often, but when I do, it makes me feel really comfortable and calm. The sound is unbelievably beautiful and the people who play them, from buskers to concert performers, take great pride in their craft.
Listen to a cover of Adele’s “Rolling In The Deep” on gu zheng here.
Listen to the er hu here (one of the saddest-sounding instruments I’ve ever heard).
Listen to the ma tou qin (which originated from Mongolia and is known as the morin khuur) here.
Listen to the liu qin here.
And one of my favorite instruments, right below the zither, is the pi pa (琵琶, which is just a larger version of the liu qin). Listen to one here.
Now listen to most of them together (accompanied by the odd harmonica) in one of the most ubiquitous songs in China, Jasmine Flower (茉莉花, mo li hua). I think it’s the only Chinese song I can remember the lyrics to.
Wow, that Matteo video really brought back a lot of old memories. That concludes this lesson of Traditional Chinese Musical Instruments 101. Thanks for sticking around!
And no, I will not sing the jasmine flower song for you.