OM SHANTI SHOAL
“A Musical Tour for Peace”
A Collaborative Performance
by Filipina singer/songwriter Nityalila Saulo
featuring Taiwanese pipa player Chung Yufeng
Taipei City | Makati City | Quezon City | Baguio City
I. TOUR DATES (June – July 2012)
- 22 June – 10PM, Opening for Cynthia Alexander (Send-off Series) at 70’s Bistro Anonas St., Quezon City
- 23 June – 6PM, The 1st Manila Folding Bike Festival, with Radioactive Sago Project, Jeepney Joyride, and Miko Pepito at Yadu Store/Bside, The Collective, Malugay St. Makati City
- 29 June – 9PM, GeeeVeee, “Bawal ang Bad Vibes Experiment” with Dakila Artists and friends at Bigsky Mind, E. Rodriguez Sr. Avenue cor. Broadway Avenue cor. 14th Street, Barangay New Manila, Quezon City
- 02 July – 6PM, Jam Sessions (Radio Show), with Jugs and Kel at Jam88.3, Ortigas Centre, Pasig City
- 03 July – 9PM, Sonic Logo Productions at Saguio Cafe, Guijo St., Makati City
- 08 July – 5PM, In Celebration of Bliss Cafe’s 8th Year Anniversary, Bliss Cafe.
II. ABOUT THE COLLABORATION
Om Shanti – Om Shanti is a Vedic Mantra that has a philosophical meaning. Om is a Hindu symbol that is believed to be the sound of the whole cosmic manifestation, and Shanti means “Peace”. ‘Om Shanti’ means peace for all human kind, peace for all living and non-living beings, peace for the universe, peace for each and everything in this whole cosmic manifestation
Om Shanti Shoal – Music, they say, connects people together notwithstanding culture and language. It is the language everyone understands; it has the power to penetrate the soul and bring peace. And we all hope and long for peace, especially today where there is chaos and political struggle between the Philippines and the Republic Of China (Taiwan) on the ownership of Scarborough Shoal. While there have been calls for war, Nityalila, a Filipino, and Chung Yufeng, a Taiwanese, will come together to show the world that music can bring people together amidst differences and that it is always the path of peace that we should follow.
Om Shanti Shoal is a collaborative performance presenting the original songs of Nityalila Saulo featuring the melodic tunes of classically trained pipa player, Chung Yufeng.
III. HISTORY: BEYOND THE PEARL OF THE ORIENT
The two musicians first met in January 2009 in Taipei, during the 1st Bitan Music Festival. Later on that same year, in September, Nityalila together with her band was again invited to perform at the annual Migration Music Festival in Taipei. During this time, Nityalila had the opportunity to collaborate with Chung Yufeng for the first time. In July 2010, Nityalila went back to Taiwan, but this time to co-facilitate with Chung Yufeng a songwriting workshop for the youth during the Tainan International Chishi Arts Festival in Tainan, South of Taiwan. In November 2011, Nityalila was again invited to co-facilitate another songwriting workshop with Chung Yufeng for NCCU College of Communication Popular Music & Cultures, then again recently this year in March, to teach the same curriculum to a new batch of students. It was also during her recent visit when she and Chung Yufeng finally staged an all-original 90 minute concert which was held at the Audio Visual Theater of the NCCU College and at Bobwundaye Café, both in Taipei.
IV. ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Literally, Nityalila means ‘the Eternal Dance of Love.’ And like her name, Nityalila’s passion and love for her music is endless. A singer-songwriter and music producer, her music is rooted in folk infused with rock and world music. Her lyrics are highly influenced by the Vedic and the Filipino culture that speaks about her heritage, essence, function, and position in life.
Nityalila was nominated Best Performance by a New Female Recording Artist at the 2008 Awit Awards, a prestigious award-giving body, spearheaded by PARI (The Philippine Association of the Record Industry, Inc.), that gives recognition to Filipino performing artists and people behind the making of Filipino recorded music
She has a band after her name which was born out of the realization that artists and musicians have the “powers” to empower, educate, and inspire the people, especially the youth, towards embracing our own culture and from there, creating original art forms and music.
In its eight years of existence, the group has performed regularly in both local and international stages that support their advocacies, such as Fete Dela Musique, Arts and Music Festival, Earth Day Jam, Ocean Vibes Concert, Sunrise Music Festival, Peace Camp Concert, UP Fair, NU107 Concert Series, Jam88.3 Concert Series, at the Cultural Center of the Philippines Concert Series, The Taiwan Yoga Festival, The 1st Bitan Music Festival in Bitan Taiwan, The 2009 Migration Music Festival in Chiayi County and Taipei Taiwan, at the Tainan International Arts Festival, and recently in Taipei during the NCCU College of Communication Popular Music & Cultures Project.
Nitya is also an active member of organizations such as Dakila, a group of artists, musicians, and individuals who use art and music for advocacy; and Yabang Pinoy, a campaign that hopes to unite the Filipino people in believing in Filipino products, in themselves and in fellow Filipinos. Aside from which, she is also an advocate of TikTok Pilipinas, a campaign against climate change and environmental justice. Through her music, Nityalila contributed in the efforts to bring the issue of climate change closer to the people. She believes that being an environmentalist is not a hobby but a lifestyle.
Chung Yufeng, Pipa Soloist from Taiwan (ROC)
Chung Yufeng formally trained in Chinese classical music. She made her first appearance at the Migration Music Festival in 2004 as a member of Lin Sheng-xiang’s former group, Water3. Chung’s performances on the sanxian (three-stringed snake-skin banjo), pipa (four-string Chinese lute), and the yueqin (moon-shaped lute) have garnered acclaim from audiences in Taiwan and Europe. Chung is a music lecturer at Foguang University and plays the pipa in the Chinese classical ensemble Wuan Yuei Hsiao Chi (Trance Music Ensemble), which is known for the creation of dialogue between ancient Chinese music pieces and traditional tea ceremony.
Chung Yufeng’ s performance at the 2006 Migration Music Festival features her compositions on the pipa. It is unusual for a musician from Chinese classical music background to be creative and capable of writing new solo and ensemble pieces for the pipa. Yufeng is one of the very few who can compose, improvise, and create musical dialogues with international artists. Her debut concert on her composition produced by Trees Music & Art, was accompanied by Indian percussionist Ramesh Shotham and Hungarian violinist Zoltan Lantos, for an exclusive festival production fit to the topic “Crossings”.
The “Crossings” music project has led her to further collaboration with artists from Europe and other territories of the world. In summer 2008, she joined the project Musicians Beyond Borders led by the German pianist, Matthias Frey, in which, artists from Mongolia, Egypt, Israel, India, Germany and Switzerland were participating.
In 2009, a collaboration project on LUTE at TFF Rudolstadt, Germany has brought her career to a highlight. This project invites artists from six different countries who specialize on short-neck lutes to stay together for one week for making two concerts. One of the concerts has been recorded live and released on a CD format.
Growing up from a traditional and academic background, Yufeng finds herself unsatisfied with playing the typical pipa repertoire from the ancient time. She is experimenting with different instruments on composition and improvisation, and has written a piece for Chinese cimbalon and pipa, and several pieces for the pipa and the guitar. She is now concentrating on extending the project with Zoltan Lantos and Ramesh Shotham for seeking new sounds and life for pipa. She is hoping that all her compositions could bring the listeners to a new experience of the ancient instrument.
Quoting the words of the revered Mahatma Gandhi, Nityalila addresses the crowd before beginning a song. The local singer and songwriter is on a mission, taking it to stage with her guitar, her band, her music and her guest, a Taiwanese pipa player.
It’s a cross-cultural music collaboration that finds audience curious — initially — then awed. Nityalila’s music, broadly described as folk with tinges of rock and world influences, breathes new life when joined by Chung Yufeng’s improvisations on the traditional Chinese lute. Read more…