CD Profile: In Xinjiang Time
The lure of hidden treasures and fabled cities has long inspired those of us who fancy ourselves as globe trotters, as world explorers.
For Betty Anne Siu Junn Wong and the Phoenix Spring Ensemble, the fabled oases towns in Xinjiang on Northwest China's Silk Road, embodies such a dream.
Xinjiang also known as Eastern Turkestan is home to Turkic Uyghurs, Kazakhs, Mongols, Tajiks and recently, the Han Chinese.
For the Phoenix Spring Ensemble, the Silk Road is 'a state of mind' rather than a locality. This is the conception leading to the creation of the CD "In Xinjiang Time".
The title refers to the way the Turko-Muslim population of Xinjiang sets its clocks-
Two hour behind Beijing time.
Xinjiang aka Eastern Turkestan has received its moment of fame on the world map ever since the film "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" placed the heroine and hero's romantic chase scene in that desert region.
Tajikistan and other Central Asian Republics have also made headlines since the War to recapture Afghanistan from the taliban.
The seventeen pieces in this recording create a dreamfield of American Eurasian nomadic music performed on a mosaic of international instruments from Xinjiang, Arabia and China to America.
Some reviews regarding the Phoenix Spring Ensemble and Betty Wong:
"I give her (Betty Wong) and the project ( In Xinjiang Time), my highest recommendation. I love the music! Ms. Wong is a pioneer in exploring and combining Eastern and Western musical forms.
With her enthusiasm, deep artistry and unflagging spirit, she has made an invaluable contribution to the musical field." -
Meredith Monk, world renown composer and Performer
"Silk Road concept albums usually rate as 'new age' - why bother?" but this one's a highly refreshing exception to the general rule... Wong's "Xinjiang Scintillating," ( track 17) with its combination of jazz, Chinese, Turkic, and Arabic influences, is a rare example of genuinely successful fusion."- excerpted review from Ellen Collison for Dirty Linen -Fall 2000
"Congratulations! In Xinjiang Time is wonderful!" - Yo-Yo Ma