Gary Lucas' "The Edge of Heaven Live: From Shanghai to New York" at The Loft at City Winery Wed. July 25th at 7:30p,
The Loft, the intimate new venue upstairs from NYC's City Winery, will host a performance by the new trio version of Gary Lucas's
THE EDGE OF HEAVEN LIVE 30's Chinese pop project on Wed. July 25th at 7:30pm. The trio features renowned guitar wizard Gary Lucas (Jeff Buckley, Captain Beefheart) and 2017 Global Music Award Winner Feifei Yang on vocals and erhu (the two-stringed Chinese violin), with multi-instrumentalist Jason Candler (Gods and Monsters) on reeds and percussion. They'll be performing repertoire inspired by Gary's celebrated album salute to 30's Chinese Pop The Edge of Heaven, mingled with new Mandarin versions of classics by Bob Dylan, Jeff Buckley, and others. The music will be accompanied by stunning projections of scenes from Old Shanghai during the Art Deco era by lighting designer Kristopher Anton. I'm hoping you'll consider advancing this show with a feature or advance blurb.
The Edge of Heaven: Gary Lucas Plays Mid-Century Chinese Pop originally appeared in 2001 on the French Label Bleu, and sold significantly in the U.S. as an import. The recording acted as a tribute to two of the great Shanghai divas, Zhou Xuan and Bai Guang, who were counted among "the Seven Great Singing Stars" of the Golden Age of Shanghai Pop circa the 1930's and 40's. The unique music they sang is known in Mandarin as "shidaiqu", which translates as "songs of the era". This strange and beautiful sound originated in Shanghai, the "Paris of the East, " and was performed in nightclubs and dance halls and featured in film musicals of the early Chinese cinema. It's a fascinating fusion of Eastern melodies and scales and Western pop, jazz, Broadway and Tin Pan Alley styles, sung in Mandarin Chinese. On the album, Lucas transformed these evergreen Chinese pop tunes anew via his visionary style of avant-roots guitar fingerpicking.
Some back-story: Shanghai, historically the most cosmopolitan city in China, was a true melting-pot, especially for music. Many Westerners fleeing the Nazis, Fascism and Communism during the two World Wars found a haven in Shanghai, then a free port which didn't require a passport for entry or departure. And there was always plenty of work for expatriate European, American and Russian musicians in this jazz-crazy city's nightclubs and recording studios. Eventually the black American jazz trumpeter Buck Clayton, who had a residency in Shanghai with his band in the mid 30's, joined forces with Dr. Li Jinhui, "the father of Chinese song", to create this unique fusion of Eastern and Western pop music beloved by Chinese people world over.
The Edge of Heaven: Gary Lucas Plays Mid-Century Chinese Pop reinvigorated this lovely and romantic music anew, and topped the World Music charts upon release as an import in 2002, and received glowing reviews from Rolling Stone, NPR, and the Wall St Journal, and from the Chinese press in Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan. The album was re-released in 2008 on Knitting Factory Records with bonus tracks. Over the years, Gary has given numerous concerts of this repertoire around the world with various singers, including two sold-out nights at BAM in 2013, at the 2012 Holland Festival in Amsterdam, and numerous times in Shanghai including during the 2010 Shanghai World Expo.
Gary Lucas' new EDGE OF HEAVEN LIVE trio with Feifei Yang and Jason Candler has just finished recording Volume Two of "The Edge of Heaven", featuring more classic 30's Chinese pop, and are currently working an album of well-known songs by Bob Dylan, Jeff Buckley, Fred Neil, Jefferson Airplane, Leonard Cohen and others sung by Feifei in Mandarin Chinese --some of which they'll perform at The Loft at City Winery on Wed. July 25th at 7:30pm.
The Loft at City Winery is at 155 Varick Street in Manhattan.
ABOUT GARY LUCAS
A world-class guitar hero and Grammy-nominated songwriter and composer, Gary Lucas has been called "Guitarist with a Global Beat" (New York Times)", "One of the best and most original guitarists in America" (Rolling Stone), "One of the 100 Greatest Living Guitarists" (Classic Rock Magazine), "An A-List Musician...The Thinking Person's Guitar Hero" (The New Yorker), and "Legendary Left-Field Guitarist" (The Guardian). He cut his teeth performing with his mentor Captain Beefheart (Don Van Vliet) as a featured soloist in Beefheart's Magic Band, co-wrote Jeff Buckley's anthems "Grace" and "Mojo Pin", and has released over 30 acclaimed albums in his own right in the World, Jazz, Rock, Blues, Classical, Soundtrack, Alternative, and Electronic categories. He has performed in 40-plus countries, including China, India, Japan, Taiwan, Mexico, Australia, Brazil, Cuba, Russia, Israel, Morocco, Colombia, and across Eastern and Western Europe. He recently performed solo before the General Assembly of the UN for Holocaust Remembrance Day, and at the Apollo Theater in Harlem with his partner Nona Hendryx (the duo recently released The World of Captain Beefheart tribute album on Knitting Factory Records),
ABOUT FEIFEI YANG
Feifei Yang is the 2017 Global Music Award Winner - Female Vocalist & Popular Music. Born in mainland China and based in New York these past 8 years, FeiFei is a virtuoso on the Erhu and Banhu, Chinese stringed instruments, and the Gold Medalist in the Beijing National New Talent Competition. FeiFei has performed at multiple venues in the U.S. including as the soloist in the Chinese entertainment segment of the 2017 Times Square New Year's Eve Countdown, Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, Barclays Center, the United Nations, CBS, WNBC and New York Fashion Week. Feifei has released several singles and albums, including Dance of the Strings (composer and performer on acoustic and electric Erhu); Vermillion Bird (Erhu); Gu Ran (Erhu), Chinese Caribe (Erhu). Her award-winning performance in "Tug of War, " her 2017 pop music video debut, showcased her talents as an actor, singer and Erhu master. The song combines Chinese instruments and American pop into a unique blend of Chinese and Western music, art and style. Her upcoming video single is "Suitcase", which she will perform at the show.
ABOUT JASON CANDLER
Jason Candler has collaborated with Gary Lucas for the almost 30 years, as musician (saxophone and guitar) and/or recording engineer. Their kinship has spanned numerous albums and tours around the world. Jason has been performing with New York's legendary brass band, Hungry March Band, for 18 years, and acts as the band's musical director and conductor. He also is a long standing member of Karl Berger's Improvisor's Orchestra, and records / performs with Reverend Billy's Fiery Eagles of Justice. As a solo artist, his compositions have been heard on NASA HDTV, and his "Sessions" page at www.guarsh.com, an archive of musical ideas and collaborations, entered its tenth year in 2018.