Sections

Sounds of spring: Composer creates a Pan-Asian music festival

Creator and curator: Composer and musician Du Yun has programmed six performances of Pan-Asian music during the Spring Revolution Festival, running at National Sawdust in Williamsburg on March 2–11.
Brooklyn Paper
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook
Subscribe

Don’t miss our updates:

She’s leading the Revolution.

A Pulitzer-winning composer will bring female and Asian voices to the front of the annual Spring Revolution Festival of music, starting on March 2 at National Sawdust in Williamsburg. Musician and festival co-curator Du Yun has programmed a line-up of performances from all over Asia that she hopes will make people examine their ideas about culture on that continent.

“When they approached me do this festival I had the idea of doing something like a Pan-Asian festival — to investigate ‘What is Asia?’ and also challenge the status quo within that as well,” said Du Yun, who won a Pulitzer for her 2017 opera “Angel’s Bone.”

Du Yun, born and raised in Shanghai, China before immigrating to the United States at age 20, said that she chose performers who will convey the richness of Asian cultures as more than a collection of tourist destinations and exotic locales.

“I especially want to focus on new works — because in my mind, new cultures cannot exist without new works — because otherwise it’s just tourist culture,” she said. “I’m hoping to really challenge people’s idea of what it means to be Asian. If you really care what we’re thinking and doing, you can come in and get an immense body of work and practices, that serves as window to what we thinking and it’s sort of like a more poignant understand­ing.”

The evening titled “The Shanghai You Don’t Know,” on March 10, will feature a screening of the documentary “Lotus Ferry,” about a neighborhood in Shanghai, followed by three performances of distinctively Shanghai theater, dance, and music styles. Other evenings will feature the Balinese music and dance ensemble Gamelan Dharma Swara, and Bhutanese, Japanese, and Indian musicians.

Du Yun will also take the stage on March 9, playing piano and singing with her band OK Miss. The four-piece, which also includes a drummer, saxophonist, and a clarinetist, will play funk, pop, and rock and roll music, along with traditional music from China and Mongolia. Du Yun said the eclectic set-list will give the audience a taste of her versatility as a performer.

“I wanted to showcase not only being a performer but also the different type of music sensibilities that I can do as well,” she said. “And I’m going to be covering a Mongolian folk song, and morph that into something psychedelic.”

Every night of the festival features female curators and female artists, but Du Yun said that adding Asian culture complicates the discussion of women’s empowerment in a necessary way.

“I’m a woman, and I’m also Chinese. If you were to ask any woman who they really are, the answer will be chaotic, not orderly, and layered,” said Du Yun. “I think in society everything is so rigid and black and white, and I want my art to breathe through that. I want to have art and music to shatter that.”

“Spring Revolution Festival” at National Sawdust [80 N. Sixth St. at Wythe Avenue in Williamsburg, (646) 779–8455, www.nationalsawdust.org]. March 2–11 at various times.

Reach reporter Alexandra Simon at (718) 260–8310 or e-mail her at asimon@cnglocal.com.
Updated 5:48 pm, July 9, 2018
Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook
Subscribe

Don’t miss our updates:

Reasonable discourse

Comments closed.

First name
Last name
Your neighborhood
Email address
Daytime phone

Your letter must be signed and include all of the information requested above. (Only your name and neighborhood are published with the letter.) Letters should be as brief as possible; while they may discuss any topic of interest to our readers, priority will be given to letters that relate to stories covered by The Brooklyn Paper.

Letters will be edited at the sole discretion of the editor, may be published in whole or part in any media, and upon publication become the property of The Brooklyn Paper. The earlier in the week you send your letter, the better.

Keep it local!

Stay in touch with your community. Subscribe to our free newsletter:

Optional: