Tarab & The Xi’An Si - OPW Salon Music Series
For such a vast country with a profound cultural history, the West knows comparatively little of China’s great regional diversity in traditional music, but a young musician from Zhengzhou City is set to change that, at least as far as Irish audiences are concerned. Now living in Co Clare, Li Kai is bridging the geographical divide with The Xi’ an Si, a trio that reunites her with musicians from home and also introduces us to exquisite instruments like the guzheng, the emblematic Chinese zither whose bright singing tone is so evocative of the Irish harp, pipa, a teardrop shaped lute with deeply scalloped frets and the erhu, the two stringed upright fiddle with its soulful timbre.
Their musical journey starts on the Silk Road and ends a little closer to home, with Irish airs heard on these instruments, and its as if they were made for each other. Joining them en route is Francesco Turrisi, the young Italian musician who has made such an impression since moving to Ireland. Performing on accordion and frame drums, he convincingly bridges traditional music from around the Mediterranean with his Tarab quartet, which also includes saxophonist Nick Roth. Their jazz background is finely countered by traditional flautist Emer Mayock who, along with percussionist Robbie Harris, brings an innate understanding of melody and form in Irish music.