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Monday, February 8, 2010

Martin Simpson & Wu Man - Music for the Motherless Child (1996)

Martin Simpson (born 5 May 1953, Scunthorpe, England) is an English guitarist. He grew up in a household full of music, from his mother’s Paul Robeson records, his father’s light opera singing and the record collections of his two elder brothers. By the age of 12 his big brother Geoff and his Uncle had clubbed together to buy him his first guitar. By the age of 12 Simpson was playing guitar and banjo.

In 1970, Simpson dropped out of college to become a full-time professional musician, touring folk clubs. In 1976 he recorded his first solo album "Golden Vanity". In the same year he opened for Steeleye Span on their UK tour. Teaming up with June Tabor, a folk singer who didn't play an instrument, Martin toured folk clubs and appeared at festivals. They recorded three albums together, highlighting each other's complementary talents. There was a fluid jazzy feel about their approach to traditional material. In 1985 he married an American singer Jessica Radcliffe. Together they recorded "True Dare or Promise" (1987) and shortly afterwards relocated to America, living initially in Ithaca, New York.

Wu Man (Chinese: 吴蛮; pinyin: Wú Mán; born 1963 in Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China) is a Chinese pipa and ruan player and composer. She is an exponent of the Pudong School of pipa playing.

A standard modern pipa with white ox horn for neck and pegsShe studied at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, where her instructors included Lin Shicheng, Kuang Yuzhong, Chen Zemin, and Liu Dehai. She became the first recipient of a master's degree in pipa and won the first prize in the 1989 National Music Performance Competition.

Although educated in China, Wu came to the United States in 1990 at the age of 25. She lived in Boston for many years and now lives in San Diego, California with her husband and son.

Wu performs with Chinese traditional music groups but is also known for her interpretation of contemporary compositions, as well as her work in jazz and cross-cultural music. Many composers (including Terry Riley, Philip Glass, Lou Harrison, Tan Dun, Bright Sheng, Chen Yi, Zhou Long, Gabriela Lena Frank, Bun-Ching Lam, Evan Ziporyn, and others) have composed new works for her.

The recording Music for a Motherless Child, is an interesting collaboration between a Western and a Far Eastern artist. Simpson and Man both use styles unique to themselves, and sometimes the mix seems a little incongruous. Most of the time the combination of the guitar and pipa are magical and unique. There are not many recordings of this type. This truly is world music.

Sources: Wikipedia, Martin Simpson Official Site, Wu Man Official Site.

Download Link: Enjoy the Music!

This recording, although out of print, can be purchased from individual sellers at the Marketplace: Music for the Motherless Child

Other recordings (and DVD and books) featuring Martin Simpson:
Other recordings featuring Wu Man:

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