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Local flavors

By Xu Lin | China Daily | Updated: 2021-12-14 07:58
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Segev has visited China over 20 times, including a trip to Chengdu, Sichuan province, in 2018.[Photo provided to China Daily]

An Israeli musician's videos from across China bring out the cultural features of provinces and regions, Xu Lin reports.

Israeli singer-songwriter Gilad Segev has dedicated himself to an ambitious project to present different perspectives of China via music, because of his love for the country.

In June 2020, he launched Project 34, through which he will release a song for each of the 34 provincial-level regions in China every month, with every one encapsulating each place's characteristics. Combining Chinese music and global folk music, he has unveiled 17 videos online so far, including on YouTube and major Chinese social media platforms, gaining millions of views.

"My inspiration for the project was the great beauty I discovered in China's culture, landscapes, and more importantly, the hearts of Chinese people," says Segev, 47, who lives in Jerusalem, Israel.

He has nearly 1 million followers on Chinese micro-blogging platform Sina Weibo.

"I want to tell the story of this beauty and express my love for it. As China is such a vast country, I need to express its richness by focusing on different places."

He calls himself a "passerby"-a traveling artist who tells his stories from his encounters with people from various cultures, through music.

Over the past decade, the award-winning musician has visited China over 20 times to perform across the country. He has traveled to most of the 34 provincial-level regions, and plans to go to the rest when travel is not restricted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

"With creativity and the help of many people, we are able to continue the project, although now I can't travel to China due to the pandemic," he says.

For each music video, he cooperates with a Chinese vocalist or musician, to combine characteristics from their own home region. He and his team have listened extensively to various genres of Chinese music to figure out what suitable elements can be used in his works.

"Finding this combination is the foundation of the emotional bridge I want to build in Project 34, a bridge to all provincial-level regions in China, and also among all people of our world," he says.

The first is to find the key elements-the beauty of local culture, landscape and people's character that represent a place best-via in-depth research. After that he decides on the main musical elements and finds a suitable artist from the area to collaborate with. When he writes the lyrics, he tries to find the words that go best with the landscape and feelings he has about the place.

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