12 Girls Band: Live from Shanghai
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Formed in 2001, their 2003 debut album in Japan, Beautiful Energy, sold 2 million units, and ranks as the highest-selling Chinese band in Japan. These 12 talented young women playing traditional Chinese instruments the erhu, pipa, yanguin, and gu zheng create masterful music on a broad musical canvas in an unforgettable and distinctive style all their own.
American audiences will witness the worldwide phenomenon in concert when 12 Girls Band embarks on a major 30-city U.S. tour in the fall of 2007.
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Highlights include the band's renditions of Handel, Beethoven, Mozart, and Bach--the last an especially accomplished, memorable version of the Concerto for Violin in A Minor. Traditional Chinese melodies are striking on pieces like "High Mountain and Floating Water." The band is joined by the talented singer Lila Downs for such vocals as "La Habanera" from Carmen--for which goosebumps are the order of the evening. Even a hoary jazz standard like "Take Five" sounds fresh in the hands of these enthusiastic musicians. (Tip: Skip over the theme from Titanic, or that refrain may haunt the rest of the concert.) Music fans from across the globe should be dazzled by the talent contained on this single stage. --A.T. Hurley
Top Customer Reviews
Not so craaazzzy. There are 13 doughnuts in a baker's dozen and the Three Musketeers had four members, Porthos, Athos, Aramis, and d'Artagnon. Gotta learn to think outside the box.
But, more to the point, the Twelve Girls Band is outstanding, especially, I think, for their masterful renditions of Bach and Beethoven. I had my doubts that European classical and baroque music could be played appropriately on Eastern instruments, but they quickly disabused me of that idea. I felt the same way about Bela Fleck playing Bach on the banjo, but he proved that good music could be played by talented musicians on any instrument and made to sound as though it had been written for that instrument. Terrific DVD...highly recommended!
There is a mix of old songs and new songs. The new ones are mostly played excellently. The Bach's Concerto for Violin in A Minor outperforms the usual violin version. This will become another hit after New Classicism. The La Habanera (from Carmen) sung by Lila Downs is my favorite. Fragile deserves special mention here. The instruments do not seem to tie in well with My Heart Will Go On, perhaps due to the fact that the tone of erhu is too "sorrow" for the song, which requires a touch of romance and softness. Carnival is an old song but played in this DVD much better than other previous DVDs.
Overall, I would rate this DVD my second best after Miracle Live DVD (performed in Beijing, now out of stock) and is a must buy for new (as well as for returning) customers. Two other must buy DVDs include the Romantic Energy 2005 DVD and A Tribute to Wang Luo Bin DVD (for those who are familiar with Chinese folk songs). The Eastern Energy CD is also a must buy.
These 13 girls (yep, count 'em) possess the perfect made-for-feature-DVD combination of expert musicianship and beauty pageant good looks (all of them!). They play strictly traditional Chinese instruments, although a backup band (rock music instrumentation) is there to fill in the gaps and get the toes tapping of as many international viewers as possible.
For those who are wondering about the instrumentation, it was mostly like this:
- Erhu (5), two-string "Chinese fiddle," bowed next to a small resonator covered with python skin
- Pipa (3), China's main lute, and probably its most popular plucked instrument
- Guzheng (1), a zither with movable bridges
- Yangqin (2), Chinese version of a hammered dulcimer
- Dizi (2), wooden, transverse flute, with an extra hole covered by a tissue-thin reed
One of the dizi players moved to the xiao, a long, end-blown vertical flute, for several numbers. Also, on one number only, an erhu player showcased the duxianqin, a single-string zither employing a flexible rod to vary string tension (quite captivating).
Arranging pop/jazz/classical tunes for oriental traditional instruments is a hit-or-miss proposition, in my opinion, and I was hoping for fewer of these numbers and more traditional Chinese folk melodies. Handel's (Royal Fireworks) came across like a funky march. Mozart (Symph #40) and Beethoven (Symph #5) were also relegated to a Top 40-ish feel.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A superb group of musicians playing music from the East and West.Published 4 months ago by Jim Cain
Delighted with my purchase. The dvd arrived as described by the Seller and it arrived ahead of schedule. Couldn't be happier.Published 13 months ago by Norman Eng
This band is great to listen to. I love how it just relax's you.Published 13 months ago by southernlass
Good, but I don't like it as well as their first albumPublished 19 months ago by William N. Brabham
it is very good to listen to in the car. they are very talented. wish I had
a video of one of their concerts.