In 2015, a historical music journey from China to Greece; in 2016, this music journey is back from Greece to China. A circle was successfully drawn between the two ancient civilizations, to consist of a unprecedented grand culture journey.
Last October, Meet Culture, a leading culture exchange organization based in Athens, initiated an unprecedented project "Chang Jing Music Travel in Greece". The Chinese Guzheng virtuoso Chang Jing who performed in the opening ceremony of 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, and the flute musician Zhang Di, are invited by Meet Culture to come to Athens, to start a memorable music journey in Greece. They met with the ancient Greek lyre band Lyre 'n' Rhapsody to create together a historical Greek-Chinese collaborated album AEGEAN, and also had two concerts in Athens and Santorini. This project received highly positive feedback from the Greek people and medias, and also made Chinese people know more about Greece through Chang Jing and Zhang Di's journey.
This album AEGEAN has been published by Meet Music, the music label of Meet Culture, in mainland China, and is praised by many Chinese music fans.
AEGEAN is not the end, but the beginning of the wonderful culture exchange between the two ancient civilizations. Meet Culture has been planning the AEGEAN MUSIC TOUR in China and finally in August, AEGEAN project now has come to China. Ancient Greek Lyre musician Aliki Markantonatou, the percussionist Areti Miggou and the singer Pan Kaperneka were invited by Meet Culture to China, and would reunion with Chang Jing, Zhang Di and Kevin Miao, the co-founder of Meet Culture.
This year's AEGEAN Music Journey in China consisted of one Music Festival, three concerts, one sharing event and one ancient Greek lyre workshop.
On 29th July, the three Greek musicians arrived at Shanghai, and after one night in the modern city together with Kevin Miao, the next day they departed for Hangzhou to meet the Chinese musicians. These old friends met in Xixi Wetland Park, and Meet Culture offered the welcome dinner to the whole team.
On 31st July, the AEGEAN team left Hangzhou to Lishui for Liandu Music Festival. This music festival was initiated by the famous Chinese conductor Ms Chen Lin and the Guqin virtuoso Mr Chen Leiji, and many musician masters and young musicians from the world attended. We were warmly welcomed by the committee and the volunteers.
1st August is the opening of the festival, and together with other musicians, we performed one piece "Golden Mist" for the opening concert which was highly praised by the audiences.
One 2nd August, Chang Jing had one class with the students of "Music Dream" project most of whom are from primary schools. In the afternoon, the whole AEGEAN team moved to a traditional village named Gu Yan, where you could see the traditional architectures and sightseeings. A nice afternoon was carved into the scenes like paintings.
The next day was the big day for AEGEAN team, because they would have their own concert today for all the audiences and musicians in town. All tickets were sold out but there were still people asking for entrance. Without any doubt it was a very successful concert, and the Chinese and Greek musicians were becoming a perfect team.
After three days staying in the music festival, it was time to say goodbye and move forward. In the train station, the Greek musicians were able to be closer to the local Chinese life. From the cities to the villages, the big differences gave them fresh understanding on real China.
Nanjing is an ancient city which was the capital of several dynasties of China. The Thirteenth Month, a music space beside the Xuanwu Lake, was the team's destination from Lishui. Today they would have another different experience with the collaborations with some other Chinese music professionals.
After the delicious lunch (see how Greek musicians had been familiar with chopsticks), the team finished the sound checking and had the interview by Nanjing TV. This concert welcomed almost 400 audiences, and again received positive feedback. Kevin Miao's family also came to the concert who were very glad to meet his Greek friends.
In the morning of 5th August, the AEGEAN team took again the high speed train to Shanghai. Thanks to the high speed train system in the East China, the team could manage to transfer between the cities within one or two hours. On this day, it would not be simply a concert, but a sharing event. Meet Culture created this new type of event, consisting of the story sharing, music sharing and improvisations. Several other excellent Chinese musicians who are very popular in Chinese internet now came to the event to warm up, after which the AEGEAN team performed "Golden Mist”.
Then it came to the sharing part. Chang Jing, Zhang Di and Kevin Miao shared their music travel in Greece last year, and Aliki Markantonatou shared Greek music and ancient Greek lyre to the audiences, interspersing with several songs from the album AEGEAN. The Consul General of Greek Consulate Mr Vassilis Xiros also joined with his Bouzouki to sing the Greek traditional song Dawn together with the Greek musicians, which brought the Greek customs to the space.
There were also some musician friends in the audience seats, and they were invited by Chang Jing to come on the stage. These are all masters for improvisation, so Guzheng, Guqin, flutes, vocal, percussion, Ruan, Guitar, etc. gave a unforgettable music journey to all audiences.
Besides the Chinese culture space, music space, etc., the AEGEAN team also had one concert in the Oriental Concert Hall which is one of the best concert halls in Shanghai on 6th August, with almost one thousand audiences. This concert was again very successful, and the Greek musicians met and collaborated again with Ms Wang Long, the Guqin musician who had the first ever Guqin concert in Greece which was also organized by Meet Culture.
The last stop was in Wuxi, a city in Jiangsu Province, 28 minutes away from Shanghai by high speed train. The concert there was at a traditional Chinese opera theater, which made the Greek musicians very excited.
In the end of the AEGEAN MUSIC TOUR, Meet Culture arranged a ancient Greek lyre workshop for Aliki and her first student in China, which was very satisfying to both the teacher and the student.
AEGEAN MUSIC TOUR is the continuation of Chang Jing Music Travel in Greece last October, under the AEGEAN project, and after having bringing the Chinese musicians to Greece, Meet Culture now have also brought the Greek musicians to China. The artists have had the most in-depth and unprecedented collaboration, and gained the much better understandings on each other's culture and people.
Meet Culture have been contributing to the culture exchange between China and Greece for three years, and as the leading culture organization, they are not only working on the music projects, but also the tourism service of Greece to Chinese tourists. The founders Kevin Miao and Eley Yuan are well-known Greece Travel Bloggers. After this AEGEAN MUSIC TOUR, Meet Culture are planning to move on to their next exciting project, still under the name of AEGEAN. To follow up on their projects, check www.meetculture.com.