Deftly blending modern instruments, such as synthesizers, bass, and pianos, with the ancient and lovely Chinese lute, Shao Rong’s release, Orchid, is an ethereal journey into a timeless realm of a traditional instrument and contemporary arrangements.
Light and tangy, the Chinese lute is often reminiscent of a mandolin. Shao Rong’s style skillfully integrates the Eastern airiness of the Chinese lute with the earthy rhythms of the Western instruments. The lute is distinctive and bold, yet never overpowers the other instruments. Shao Rong’s Chinese and Japanese training is evident, and evokes images of the Far East with titles like the dignified, yet relaxed. “Bamboo Dance,” the cheerful excitement of “Marketplace,” and “Precious Moon,” which is based on the Chinese classic “Yue Er Gao.”
Like the flower for which it is named, Orchid is delicate, exotic, and fragrant — as a bonus, the CD comes with incense, which can be easily removed from the cleverly designed jewel case.
Pacific Moon Records, http://www.pacificmoon.com