Monday, August 04, 2008

Liu Sola - Blues in the East

From All Music Guide:
"The daughter of prominent figures in China's Communist Party, Liu spent her early life in luxury. An uncle, Liu Zhidan, was a high-ranking general in the Red Army until his death and martyrdom in 1936. Her family's fortunes changed dramatically when her father's comrade-in-arms, Gao Gang, was accused of treason by Mao Tse-Tung and sentenced to death in 1955. As the result of a scorching account of the situation written by her mother, both of her parents were exiled to a rural pig farm, where they remained for two decades. Together with her older brother and sister, Liu was raised by a family in the capital city. Music played an essential role throughout Liu's life. She began studying classical piano at the age of five. Although she also studied Peking Opera, she was drawn more to Chinese folk music...Liu began writing short stories and novels. Her first novella, Ni Bie Wu Xuanze (You Have No Choice), was hailed by China's disenfranchised urban youth and won a prestigious Chinese National Novella award. Liu's first full-length novel, Chaos and All That, written while she was briefly residing in London and published in 1989, was followed by Da Ji Jia De Xiao Gu Shi in January 2000. Her novella, Blue Sky Green Sea, was translated into English and performed as a rock opera in 1998 with the Chinese Central Symphony Orchestra and a rock band...Liu has continued to explore a diverse range of music. She formed an all-female Pink Floyd-influenced rock band in the mid-'80s. She recorded a rock opera version of Blue Sky Green Sea in 1988 with the Chinese Central Symphony Orchestra, and a Hong Kong-based rock band. Moving to London later the same year, she formed a reggae band with British, Japanese, and Chinese musicians. Inspired by the music of Otis Redding and Aretha Franklin, who she first heard while visiting the United States in 1987, Liu returned to the U.S., two years later to spend time in the Mississippi Delta, meeting and playing with scores of blues musicians...Returning to China for the first time in a decade, Sola performed in Beijing and Shanghai and recorded an album, Sola and Friends in Beijing."

Blues in the East is one of my favorite and I believe under-recognized records to have come out on Axiom. Again, from All Music:
"...Her debut Western release features a stellar lineup, including organist Amina Claudine Myers, guitarist James Blood Ulmer, drummer Jerome "Bigfoot" Brailey, saxophonist Henry Threadgill, and the Last Poets' Umar Bin Hassan...this bizarre collusive concept is as refreshingly original as anything released in the '90s."

Liu Sola - Blues in the East