Daily Archives: October 19, 2017

Lyrical souls turn ancient Chinese poetry into song

Chinese folk singer Gong Linna and her husband, Robert Zollitsch, perform at a concert in Beijing, where they reinterpret Chinese ancient poems with music.A musician couple is turning ancient Chinese poetry into songs, Chen Nan reports.The Austrian composer Franz Schubert was a pioneer of turning poems into music.A similar line is now being followed in China by German composer Robert Zollitsch, who is working on poetry of two dynasties – Tang (AD 618-907) and Song (960-1279).It is expected to both enliven Chinese music and bring back classical poems to a modern society.”We want to use music to get those poems across to the contemporary scene, and (take them) to people from different cultures,” says Zollitsch, 48.Along with his wife, Gong Linna, a Chinese folk singer known for her powerful voice and dramatic facial expressions, Zollitsch has used such experiments in their latest album, Tang Song Dong Xi.With Gong singing and Zollitsch composing, they used more than 15 Chinese poems from ancient poets such as Li Bai, Du Fu and Bai Juyi as lyrics.The new album comprises two CDs.Tang Song, referring to the two Chinese dynasties, sees Chinese and Western instruments played together, and the other CD, Dong Xi, a Chinese wordplay indicating the East and the West as well as the Chinese phrase meaning “the thing”, has pop and electronic music in the songs.The first song of the album is Jing Ye Si, or Thoughts on A Quiet Night, taken from the famous poem of the same title by Li Bai (AD 701-762).Zollitsch says he has read the poem since the 1990s and so far has seen more than 300 translations of it.”Though I am a foreigner, I can share the sentiments of the poem,” says Zollitsch, adding that Austrian composer Gustav Mahler also used poems by Chinese poets like Li Bai, Meng Haoran and Wang Wei, as text sources in composing The Song of the Earth. “It’s mutual human emotion, which is told through music.”For Gong, who, like many Chinese, learned the poems in school, she didn’t understand the poem until she left home. The 39-year-old singer had moved with Zollitsch to Berlin in 2004 and returned to China in 2009.She says, she connected with Li’s poetry the most when she felt homesick while in Germany.Instead of using her trademark high-pitched voice to impress listeners, she depicted the poems with her storytelling skills.

Pakistan says talks underway with US to end deadlock in F-16 sale

Pakistani F-16 fighter jets fly past during the Pakistan Day military parade in Islamabad, Pakistan, March 23, 2016.ISLAMABAD — Pakistan officials said the country is involved in discussions with the United States to get F-16 fighter planes though the Obama administration was forced to halt the financial aid to Pakistan to purchase the aircraft.Despite the US administration’s support on F-16s for Pakistan, American lawmakers at a recent meeting of a subcommittee of the Congress foreign affairs panel objected to using taxpayers’money to fund the sale, according to reports. Senator Bob Corker, chairman of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee, had stopped funding the deal.Pakistan was to pay only 270 million US dollars for eight jets, valued at over 700 million US dollars. The Obama administration was to cover the remaining 430 million US dollars through the US foreign military financing budget.Officials in Islamabad say the country seeks the fighter jets for its fight against terrorists.”The proposed sale of F-16 fighter aircraft by the United States is still under discussion between the two countries,” Pakistan foreign office spokesman Nafees Zakariya said on Sunday while commenting on the cut of financial subsidy for the sale of the aircraft.”Mutual efforts are needed to tackle the menace of terrorism and the responsibility to eliminate terrorism cannot be placed on one country,” Zakariya said in response to the media reports.US media reports had earlier suggested that the US Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Olson had defended the sale of F-16s to Pakistan and told the Congress Committee that Pakistanis have developed a precision strike capability that they use in the F-16s and a have a right to destroy targets.Earlier a top Pakistani adviser said it is the responsibility of the Obama administration to convince the Congress to subsidise the deal.”In spite of the lawmakers’ objection, the US offer for the sale is still on the table,” Tariq Fatemi, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Tariq Fatemi said in reported comments.Defending the deal, Fatemi said the F-16s are useful for the on-going fight against terrorism, adding that Pakistan has so far spent nearly two billion US dollars on operations against terrorists from own resources.



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