Monday, September 1, 2008

Yang Ying Rocks Planet Arlington

The third annual Planet Arlington World Music Festival this past Saturday at the Netherlands Carillon (near the Iwo Jima Memorial) brought some great music to Arlington. A good-sized crowd lounged on the grass, danced in front of the stage, had a picnic, and enjoyed the free show under blue, blue skies. The event included many activities for children, and hence the audience had a nice mix of ages and groups.

My favorite performer by far was Yang Ying. She plays the erhu, a two-stringed traditional Chinese instrument that sounds somewhat like a violin or a cello. She performed with a band consisting of a lead guitarist, flutist, keyboard player, bass guitarist, and drummer. Together they played an amazing range of music -- from a meditative piece to Thelonius Monk's Round Midnight to Led Zeppelin's Stairway to Heaven to Uninhibited, a Yang Ying-composed fusion of native Mongolian music, Xian drums, and American jazz, rock, and funk. It was an awesome performance.

After the performance I immediately went and bought both of Yang Ying's albums from the music vendor on the site. One, entitled Elixir, is "music for moving & still meditation." That brought another smile to my face as I was still rocking with her closing rendition of Stairway to Heaven. The other album is entitled Blurring Boundaries. No kidding! You can preview songs from both albums over at Yang Ying's music store. Yang Ying also has three songs from Blurring Boundaries up on her MySpace page. Sorry, but Stairway to Heaven isn't on either album.

The news video below shows some of what went on at this year's Planet Arlington World Music Festival. Don't miss it next year!

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