JIA PENG-FANG and SEIICHI KYODA have just released a new album together called "RAINBOW". These two artists have collaborated beautifully together before to produce the album "RIVER" which introduced us to the wonders of the instrument "Niko". JIA PENG-FANG, after holding the position of sub-leader in the Chinese Central Folk Orchestra attended the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music as a foreign student. After graduating, he has been active both in Japan and overseas.
Are you familiar with the instrument Niko? Niko in Chinese is pronounced "ERHU" and it is said that its history goes back for two thousand years. Stretched over the wooden body of the instrument which serves as a resonating chamber when played, are two strings of snake skins, each made to a different thickness. These strings are played with a bow like with the violin. Sounds are produced by putting the bow between the two strings. They say long ago (about a thousand years back), a bamboo stick was used in place of the bow. Niko is still popular as one of the melody instruments. The sweet sad melodies played by JIA PENG-FANG sound like they are being sang by a beautiful female solo. What brings out the beautiful qualities in his performance and moves us even more is Seiichi Kyoda. He is a composer and arranger who has created two albums of new sounds with his new group "UTTARA KURU". UTTARA KURU is a group that put together something new, blending together the sounds of the Orient such as the chanting of the sutras, folk instruments and folk music with the Western type music.
In this new release, JIA PENG FANG has three new pieces and Seiichi Kyoda, nine new pieces to introduce. Various instruments, including that of an orchestra, acoustic guitar, tabula-baya and piano are played as accompaniments, bringing out the qualities of the Niko more effectively than ever before.
Just as the rainbow over the blue sky after a brief afternoon shower attracts us with its clear and delightful colors, the pastoral melody and tones of the niko, and the surrounding sounds, bring colors to our hearts, and lets us dreams of the eternal Asian continent, taking us off into a journey of sounds. This album "RAINBOW" will perhaps serve as a bridge to the past eons ago as well as a bridge to tie Asia with the rest of the world.