Media Release, 3 March 2010
With their roots straddling punk rock and Mongolian drinking songs, the popular Beijing group Hanggai will certainly be one of the big highlights at the 6th Christchurch Lantern Festival this weekend.
The five member group is a favourite on the international World Music circuit with its specialist repertoire of songs that include throat singing, rock and traditional instruments and colourful Mongolian dress.
Hanggai will be performing over two nights at the Christchurch Lantern Festival together with a host of other performers from mainland China as well as local Chinese groups. Other highlights include one of Shanghai's top music ensembles Moon, rolling lantern folk dancers from Southern China as well as lantern making masters and other artists.
The Festival is held by Asia:NZ and takes place in Victoria Square on Saturday March 6 and Sunday March 7.
What the critics have said about Hanggai: “Distills everything powerful about Mongolian folk music and makes something new from the ingredients … transcendently powerful music that anyone from anywhere can understand.” (Pitchfork)
“So entrancing or just downright enthralling that I just can’t imagine why the tradition ever fell out of fashion… charming, raucous, brilliantly jubilant and a breath of fresh Mongolian grassland.” (World Music Central)
Hanggai are Bagen on guitar, Ilchi on banjo, Hugiltu on horse head fiddle, Li Dan on percussion and Wu Junde on bass.
Each year the Asia New Zealand Foundation commissions new lanterns from our lantern-maker in Zigong in the western Chinese province of Sichuan. These are shipped from Shanghai by sponsor COSCO (New Zealand) Ltd.
The year’s featured lantern will be the new tiger lantern marking the Year of the Tiger in the 12-year cycle of the Chinese zodiac.
The Tiger is a sign of courage, revered in the old days as the sign that wards off the three main disasters of a household: fire, thieves and ghosts. People born in the Year of the Tiger are said to natural leaders, intelligent, alert and far sighted.
The Asia New Zealand Foundation also brings in performers from different areas of China with the assistance of Cathay Pacific.
The core sponsor of the Christchurch Lantern Festival is HSBC. Other sponsors include the Christchurch City Council, TV3, More FM, the Southern Trust, The Lion Foundation, the Chinese Ministry of Culture, Christchurch Casino, Geely, the Eureka Trust, the Canterbury Community Community Trust and the Copthorne Hotel.