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Echoes of China

Updated: 2013-09-26 09:11
( China Daily)
Echoes of China

Liang Huamin (center) with his band members bassist Su Wei (right) and flute player Jin Peng. The band is touring the country with their debut album, Picturesque Motherland. Zou Hong / China Daily

A band takes its commitment to folk music on a national tour for the first time, Chen Nan reports.

It is easy to imagine Liang Huamin as the lead vocalist of a metal band. Fronting his six-man Echo Band, the tall, thin, singer-guitarist appears onstage in a tight T-shirt and jeans, with his waist-length hair whipping through the air as he becomes intoxicated by the music.

But as he plucks the guitar strings, he doesn't sound like a rock star. Instead of fast picking and sharp tones, he produces smooth and relaxing melodies. Together with his band members, percussionists Liu Teng and Wu Hao, bassist Su Wei, guitarist Zhu Meng, and flute and xiao (Chinese end-blown bamboo flute) player Jin Peng, Liang calls their music China rhythm.

"We want to make a kind of music that refers to China the moment you hear it, just like jazz coming from the African-American people. We want it to be contemporary and represent China," says Liang, 44, a native of Weifang city, Shandong province.

The title song of their debut album, Picturesque Motherland, according to Liang, is dedicated to his lifelong idol, Hong Kong kung fu novelist Louis Cha.

As a teenager, Liang read all of Cha's novels over and over again, imagining himself as one of the kung fu masters being on the road with his sword.

The detailed plots from the novels are all still vivid in his mind, which inspired him to write the song.

The song is also the title of the band's ongoing national tour, which kicked off at Peking University in Beijing on Sept 11 and is now traveling to 23 other cities around the country until the end of October.

"Just like the kung fu masters, we hit the road and spread our music," says Liang. "I hope our music can echo in people's mind after we leave."

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