Suzanne Teng & Mystic Journey play live on Echoes, Weds, 10/15/08
You can hear an Audio Version of this blog, with music.
If you were among the 15 million or so viewers who watched the finale of Survivor: China, you may have caught Suzanne Teng fronting the on-camera band that played out into commercials. (See Video)
Suzanne was supposed to just play flute, but she sang as well.
Suzanne Teng: I was talking to the composer about when I was a kid I used to run around doing Chinese opera imitations, because my dad loved Peking opera, and he said, “Oh, let’s hear it.” So I just messed around and the producers were watching and they loved it so they actually featured my singing on the 20 second spot that was the biggest spot for the musicians, so that’s my claim to fame as a fake Peking opera singer, faking my Chinese and all I have to admit.
Suzanne Teng may have been faking her singing, but there’s nothing false in the music she’s been making for a decade with her group, Mystic Journey. Teng has created a world fusion sound centered on percussion from Gilbert Levy and her vast array of flutes. Chinese dizi, Turkish ney, Indian bansuri, and Indonesian suling are only a few of the flutes that seem to be growing like plants out of walls and on the shelves of her Topanga Canyon home. You can hear Suzanne playing them everywhere from Kleenex commercials to film soundtracks, but they’re heard to best effect on her own CDs like Miles Beyond.
Willowy with long straight black hair, Suzanne Teng is a child of Chinese parents, but was born and raised in America where she became an orchestral classical flutist. But after playing with an African drummer, Suzanne was entranced by world music which became her driving force. Gilbert Levy plays a conventional drumset but he’s just as likely to pick up a dumbek, djembe or tabla. You won’t find much four on the floor rhythm in the music they compose together.
From meditations with Tibetan singing bowls to exotic Middle Eastern dances and Chinese evocations, Suzanne Teng finds herself creating a music between worlds, or perhaps something entirely new.
Suzanne is currently working on new music. We just did a great session with her in Los Angeles at Broken Wave Music where she brought in cellist Peter Walden and oud player Dann Torres. Dan has a cool album of his own called Knossos that we’ve been playing. You can get a sneak peak into the new music of Suzanne Teng and Mystic Journey when they perform live on Echoes Wednesday night 10/15/08. This has been an Echo Location, Soundings for New Music.
John Diliberto ((( echoes )))