Music in the Moonlight: Mid-Autumn Festival Virtual Concert

On Friday 17th September 2021, we were delighted to host a very special online concert in celebration of Mid-Autumn Festival. Talented performers from across came together for Music in the Moonlight, and hour of Chinese music and song.

Haihao Zhao supported the concert as a volunteer, and shares her highlights of the event here:

Mid-Autumn Festival, one of the most important traditional Chinese festivals, is a day when friends and families reunite. On 17th September 2021, Ricefield Arts hosted a one-hour online concert, introducing wonderful music including classical opera and modern songs to over 100 attendees from across the world.

The event was organised by Ricefield Arts, in partnership with the Confucius Institute at the University of Glasgow, Wing Hong Chinese Elderly Centre and Harmony Ensemble. At the beginning of the event, Else Kek, Chairperson of Ricefield Arts, and Nathan Woolley, Director of the Confucius Institute at the University of Glasgow sent us their holiday wishes.

The first performance, by Harmony Ensemble, featured the famous classic song ‘The Moon Represents My Heart’ and a Tang Dynasty poem ‘Recalling Jiangnan’. One audience member said, “I always wanted to know the name of this song because I really loved it when I heard it somewhere.”

Next, Ling Guo, Co-Director of the Confucius Institute at the University of Glasgow told us more about the traditions of the Mid-Autumn Festival. We learned about the origins of the Mid-Autumn Festival and the most important customs: eating mooncakes and watching the Moon, as a symbol of harmony and unity.

Eddie McGuire then impressed us with his amazing dizi (bamboo flute) skills. ‘Panda Dance’, ‘The Dark Island’ and ‘Radiant with Joy’ had all the attendees in high spirits, even their pets: “My dog is howling in the background with Eddie.” 

Accompanied by violin, drums, and the traditional Chinese instrument zhongruan, Fong Liu and her son Robin Lumby presented three Chinese folk songs: ‘A Half Moon Rising’, ‘Jasmine Flower’, one the most famous pieces of Chinese music and, ‘The Love Song of Kangding’. The beautiful songs and melodies let us feel calm and joyful in the warm night.

Amy Li-Man, Centre Manager of Wing Hong Chinese Elderly Centre showed us how the local Chinese elderly community celebrated the Mid-Autumn Festival. Especially in this uncertain period of pandemic, the wellbeing and health of elderly are vitally important.

Then was an opportunity to learn more about Chinese Opera by listening to Quan Gu’s performance ‘Flower Duet’ in Huangmei opera-style. The performance was intriguing: he could sing in both male voice and female voices, acting as a man farming and a woman weaving.

Alongside the traditional Chinese music, Linfeng Wang, a singer, composer and music producer also brought us two pop songs: an original song ‘Pieces of Memory’ expressing his affection to parents and ‘Suddenly Missing You So Badly’ from popular Chinese band Mayday, recalling the beautiful memories of first love.

The last act, performed by Else Kek, combined ‘Whisper of Pipa’ and the poem ‘Moonlight of My Hometown Tonight’. With the melodic pipa sound, the harmony expressed the feelings of missing family far away. 

Watch more Music in the Moonlight highlights here:

Thanks to our event partners the Confucius Institute and the University of Glasgow, Wing Hong Chinese Elderly Centre and Harmony Ensemble for their support.

Our engagement activities are funded by Glasgow City Council’s Glasgow Communities Fund.

Chinese New Year Celebration 2021

On Friday 26th February 2021, Ricefield Arts hosted our very first online Chinese New Year Celebration. We celebrated Lantern Festival and the arrival of the Year of the Ox with friends from around the world, while our talented performers showcased the breadth of Chinese culture. The hour-long programme featured live performances of classical dance, martial arts, traditional instruments and lots more.

Watch some of our highlights here:

Philippa Barclay attended the event, and has kindly shared this blog post about her experience.

Ricefield Arts and Cultural Centre and the Confucius Institute for Scotland’s Schools (CISS) hosted a special Chinese New Year online event to mark the last day of Spring Festival, known as the Lantern Festival. I joined in on the online celebrations from the comfort of my home and am excited to share my experiences of the evening’s festivities.

The online celebration was held over Zoom and attracted over 360 guests joining from across the globe to watch the performances which showcased Chinese culture in a variety of formats including dance, musical instruments, martial arts, song, and poetry.

The event opened with speeches from Else Kek, Chair of Ricefield Arts & Cultural Centre and Fhiona Mackay, Director of CISS. We were then entertained by Shengnan Qiu playing some lively music on the erhu, a Chinese national orchestral instrument, with a vibrant performance of “Onwards and Upwards”.

Next on the programme was an opportunity to experience a powerful martial art display of a complex Choy Lee Fut Kung Fu fighting form called Small Plum Blossom Fist. The form is popular for public events, and Pui Lee’s impressive and complex performance took place outdoors.

We then moved on to some gentle singing by Fong Liu of three melodies which are popular for the Spring Festival period: “Congratulations”, “Sweet Honey” and “Winter Jasmine”. The recital was performed in traditional dress with beautiful lanterns in the background adding to the visual experience. Poetry recitals came next from Xiaochun Shen, with subtitles describing joyful scenes on New Year’s Day and the author’s positive expectations for the year ahead.

An interesting part of the evening was an introduction to a traditional Chinese Tea Ceremony showcasing the art of Chinese tea with beautiful Chinese art and music in the background and traditional tea sets. Being an avid tea drinker myself I enjoyed watching Shanshan Jiang’s detailed preparation and the intricate steps involved in presenting and serving the tea.

Lawrence Dunn performed two lively Dai folk songs on the sheng: “Mangshi Dam Tune” and “Wedding Banquet Song”. The sheng is one of the oldest musical instruments in China dating back to 1100 BCE. This was followed by another remarkable Chinese martial arts performance by Hing Fung Teh, this time in the form of a more soothing display of extracts from both the 24 and 42 Steps Tai Chi forms, with guests remarking on “music so peaceful it touches your soul”.

Annie Au gave a wonderful performance of the “Butterfly Lovers” fan dance which is a rendition of a folk tale of two lovers unable to be together who were reunited as butterflies, and lastly the event finished with a lively and upbeat performance from Eddie McGuire. He ended the show with “Purple Bamboo Melody” played on the dizi bamboo flute, accompanied by some chimes.

All in all, it was a lovely opportunity to connect with people from all around the world and experience a really enjoyable evening, getting the chance to experience some of the history of this important annual Chinese festival and the unique and beautiful traditions which accompany it.

We were delighted to partner with the Confucius Institute for Scotland’s Schools for this event, which allowed us to reach new audiences who are engaged in language learning across Scotland.

Our Chinese New Year Celebration was supported by Foundation Scotland and Glasgow City Council‘s Glasgow Communities Fund, as part of our Community Recovery & Wellbeing project.

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