Heritage, integration and innovation
Yunnan Province, Southern China. A mostly rural region with mountains, farming and multiple communities of different tribes. Each tribe has a long history with this region and the environment, living harmoniously for hundreds of years through multiple Chinese dynasties. The range of culture here is diverse with each tribe having unique creative traditions including Music, Dance and Fashion. As opportunities and investment in the cities are growing at an exponential rate, young members of these tribes are attracted to the modern China. Tribes are loosing generations and soon their methods of design, dance and musical composition will no longer exist.
GSM traveled to this region in June 2017 in order to work closely with three specific tribes in to record musical performances, document garments and preserve this rich cultural heritage.
Heritage, integration and innovation are at the forefront of the Global Sound Movement. The Yunnan project is part of a wider commitment to China, and new ways of integrating Chinese musical heritage are constantly being developed. During late 2018 the ‘GSM Player’ will become live, offering the international community the opportunity to hear and play unique instruments whilst integrating them with Western Music / Sub Saharan instruments – pushing the boundaries of musical timbre and texture, and creating new multicultural music.
The innovation behind the GSM Player and other digital instruments ensures that members of these tribes who no longer have access to the originals, can use technology to play and compose.
This preservation of the original sounds will not only protect traditional rhythm, but will open up possibilities for the development of musical composition both within China and beyond.
Collaboration is key to the innovation that developed through the GSM. One current project that has been developed is the triangulation between Chinese Heritage, British Fashion Design and Western Dance Music. Fashion students from the University of Central Lancashire visited Guizhou province in order to gain design inspiration and garment making skills. This knowledge was then fused with Western style trends and new collections of garments were designed and made. These new collections were presented via a Catwalk Fashion Show in North West England to a soundtrack composed and performed by Music Production Students that included sounds and instruments collected in Yunnan. This exhibition was well received and an invitation was extended by Chinese Service Center for Scholarly Exchange (CSCSE) for this show to happen in March 2018 in Beijing.
Through the multiple innovative projects developed by the GSM, creative industries form both the East and West have the tools to integrate cultural heritage across disciplines in a modern fresh way shining the light on China’s heritage, proving its relevance today.