Silk Road Music brings dancing to Enchanted Evenings concert at Dr. Sun Yat Sen Chinese Gardens

Chinese and African dancing accompanied Silk Road Music's always entertaining world music concert at the Dr. Sun Yat Sen Garden's final Enchanted Evenings concert series.

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Qiu Xia He and Andre Thibault of Silk Road Music Ensemble with their
friends African dancer Jacky Essombe and percussionist Pepe Danza – photo Michael Brophy

It was a great concert to close out the Enchanted Evening series, Friday Sep 4th, at the Dr. Sun Yat Sen Gardens, by Silk Road Music, made more exciting by the presence of Cameroon dancer Jacky Essombe and the Chinese creative dance team of Jessica Jone and Cheng xin Wei, also known as Moving Dragon Dance Company.

Picture from Program.

The program opened with a traditional reel – not out of place in french-canadian or celtic circles.  Qiu Xia demonstrated esquisite picking skills on her pipa (Chinese lute), as Andre Thibault strummed furiously, and Pepe Danza played his drums.  Andre shared that they have played all over the world with Pepe, and they also perform together in the group Jou Tou where Andre is band leader (Qiu Xia leads Silk Road Music).

Qiu Xia invited dancers Cheng Xin and Jessica Jone out to join them, explaining that they would perform traditional Xingjian music from China, not often performed in Vancouver or Canada.  Next she invited African dancer Jacky Essombe, sharing that Jacky had been part of the Cultural Olympiad show that Qiu Xia had organized for Chinese New Year's earlier this year.

Clouds was a celtic inspired instrumental compsed and performed by Qiu Xia on her pipa, while Jessica performed a Chinese fan dance.  It was an unlikely but beautifully harmonious fusion of cultures, dance and song. Hmmm…. definitely something to consider for the next Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner.

Andre and Pepe followed with a rollicking flamenco song, which Qiu Xia joined in on.  Andre loves playing flamenco, and it is amazing how Qiu Xia picks the melody on her pipa with her vituostic skill.

Jessica spoke to the audience about Moving Dragon's upcoming show at the Scotiabank Dance Centre for Sep 12/13, titled LuminUS.

Full of surprises, the rest of the program blended more chinese and african dancing with the Silk Road Music repetoire.  For the final song, Jacky invited audience members to the centre stage area to join her in African dancing.  She encouraged people to yell and make noise, as the room filled up with vibrant energy.  Canadian Africanized dancers young and old joined in the dancing.

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