Pipa: from a Distance

LABELS: Naxos World
WORKS: Pipa: from a Distance
PERFORMER: Wu Man (pipa), other musicians


Oddball release of the month – PIPA: FROM A DISTANCE – comes from a player of the lute-like pipa who has built up a long record of Western-style collaborations and compositions since she moved from China to the US. This time Wu Man takes things several stages further.

A trio with didgeridoo and banjo against dance beats, all on a North Chinese street tune, sets the tone. Next track she uses a bow, sounding like an electronically treated viola with a massive overtone content.


Further pleasures include a session with trombone and guitar which sounds oddly Indian, and some fun and games with an electric guitar pedal, inspired by Jimi Hendrix, which could be gimmicky, but convey a strong atmosphere of travelling in distance, time and inner space. An unlisted, unaccompanied vocal ends the disc like a lullaby, short and touching.