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United in harmony

By Xing Wen | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2023-06-02 07:33
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Veteran vocalist Gong Linna (right) and Japanese singer Maria, also known as Mai Mizuhashi, sing the song Hua Hai (Sea of Flowers) in the music and reality show Riding the Wind 2023. CHINA DAILY

Singers from various backgrounds at home and abroad tune into one another during hit reality show, Xing Wen reports.

In the rich tapestry of global music, certain genres possess a unique allure that transcends cultural boundaries. One such captivating vocal style is Shima Uta, originating from the enchanting islands of Okinawa, Japan. Also known as "island songs" in English, the singing style demands rapid transitions between chest voice and falsetto, creating a haunting and ethereal atmosphere.

Inspired by this special vocal style, the multitalented pop icon, Jay Chou, created the poignant ballad Hua Hai (Sea of Flowers) in 2008, into which he skillfully infused the soothing power of Shima Uta, bringing solace to the hearts of listeners.

Two years later, Kousuke Atari, a renowned Japanese singer who has been at the forefront of popularizing Shima Uta, covered the song, presenting a Japanese version.

The narrative of Chinese and Japanese musical exchange has continued to unfold as the acclaimed Chinese vocalist Gong Linna and Japanese singer Maria, also known as Mai Mizuhashi, presented their own interpretation of the song on the stage of the reality show, Riding the Wind 2023.

In their performance, Maria mesmerizes the audience with her resonant contralto voice, which carries depth and richness, enveloping the listeners in complex emotions. Meanwhile, Gong showcases her versatility as a veteran vocalist, seamlessly moving between pop and ethnic minority-style vocal techniques such as vocal chanting, Shima Uta and other genres.

During the song's instrumental interludes, Maria takes center stage, her dance moves synchronizing with the cascading petals falling around her, a visual spectacle that amplifies the poetic expression of the song. Alongside her, Gong's enchanting vocalizations intertwine, adding an otherworldly dimension to the performance.

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