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World music brings pureness of spirit to city
By Zhang Qian

THE world is coming to Shanghai -- world music that is.

World Music Shanghai takes place from Sunday through May 5 this year and Bombay Jayashri Ramnath's performance is expected to be one of the highlights. She wrote and sings "Pi's Lullaby" for the Ang Lee film "Life of Pi."

The Indian Carnatic vocalist will perform at Jinqiao's Life Hub on May 4. Tickets are free.

Ramnath got the chance to get involved in the film after Mychael Danna, the music director of "Life of Pi," heard her album "Vatsalyam," which features various Indian lullabies in different languages.

Sun Mengjin, the artistic director of World Music Shanghai, says: "Carnatic music is often about communication between humans and gods, describing the relationship between humanity and nature, where people can easily find inner peace."

Of course, the festival will feature a variety of world music styles including African rhythms from Reunion, a chorus from Georgia, and vocalists from Bulgaria. The Grand Song of the Dong People, which is listed as an Intangible Cultural Heritage will also be performed.

Independent musician Song Yuzhe and folklore master Ubul Hasan, who hails from Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, will collaborate in another performance and, according to Yang Lei, the producer of the festival, it will be quite a show.

The elderly folk musician expresses joy and sorrow in his vocals, backed by drums. "It is pure music and simple emotions," Yang says.

Beginning in 2008, World Music Shanghai has been bringing world music performances to the city even though few people are aware of the event.

However, Bill Zang, vice president of National Music Industry Park, says more people are starting to take notice of world music and the festival.

"Though many people believe music has no borders, I believe the border makes music from each region unique and special. And those unique and special elements can bring much inspiration when they collide with modern music today," says Zang.

Visit the website www.worldmusicshanghai.com for more information.

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