Tom Teasley and Chao Tan Release Debut Album
"Out of the Blue"
We are honored to welcome you to our new world of sound and bi-lingual music. Dong Xi, is collaboration between world percussionist Tom Teasley and Chinese dulcimer (Yangqin) virtuoso Chao Tian that began in late 2018 through a partnership with the Music Center at Strathmore Artist-In-Residence program. Our sound is a merging of world rhythms—fusing American jazz and rhythm & blues, with the elegance of Chinese folk and classical music. Tom Teasley combines global percussion from Africa, India, Middle-East, Brazil, and Cuba with American jazz. Chao Tian performs with techniques that combine her traditional Chinese classical and folk background with those reminiscent of the Persian santoor, American dulcimer, and even slide guitar. Their music is frequently completely improvised, thus creating a dialog between east and west using music to express what words cannot express.
With the current trend of globalization between the U.S. and China, collaboration and communication needs to be established in more than just the fields of politics and economics. Dong Xi provides cultural exchange via an improvised musical dialogue, which requires careful listening and empathy. Unlike most dialogs (including musical performances) between Chinese and Americans, which are pre-arranged, Dong Xi’s musical tête-à-tête is on-the-go, spontaneous, and intriguingly unknown. Such conversation is the result of listening, mutual respect and understanding of each other’s culture, with a goal to support, disseminate, and showcase each other’s cultural legacy.
While the obvious musical dialog is between American and Chinese influences, the well they draw from is much deeper. Take for example “Silk Wave” which fuses Middle Eastern daff techniques with Persian santoor influences. “Boiling Water” combines Teasley on the Arabic darbuka while Chao opens with sounds reminiscent of a slide guitar while reflecting on the passage of time from youth to midlife that she likens to boiling water representing both passion and playfulness. “Oriental Alley” and ”The Harvest have a rhythmic groove inspired by American rhythm and blues performed between cajon, djembe, pandeiro and timbale (used as a bass drum voice) while Chao’s dulcimer is contemplatively mesmerizing. “Jungle Train” begins with Teasley featuring the Middle Eastern riq and Chao eliciting train sounds from the Chinese dulcimer before merging into an impressive improvisation. We like to offer the image of riding an antique train through the jungles, surrounded by exotic scenes and a strong sense of adventure. “Chang’an” which uses the traditional the Chinese pentatonic scale as well as Chinese gongs vividly depict a glimpse of the glory of the Tang Dynasty. “Kong Zhu” mimics the ever changing flow and the diverse way of playing of this ancient Chinese game. Both “Chang'an” and “Kong Zhu” tap into an American jazz rhythmic approach from both Chao and Teasley. “Rolling Walnuts” is a humorous dialog between Chao (playing on the wooden edge of her dulcimer and Tom on the rims of his drums to simulate the sound of walnuts rolling down wooded stairs. There are many stories to be revealed and we invite you to create your own story line to this music that transcends time and culture.
We sincerely hope you enjoy this spontaneous musical dialog between cultures as much as they have creating it.
Chao and Tom
Available Now !
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