|A dynamic fusion of Chinese and electric
violins and electronics C H I 2 perform
their inimitable Eastern-tinged contemporary electro-acoustic style
to stunning effect. Recently described as "double violin assault
specialists (Singapore method)" C H I 2
are Chinese British-born violinists/composers Liz Chi Yen & Sarah
Chi Shang Liew.
Drawing on inspiration from their recent tours of South-East Asia,
their love of Chinese cinema and their genepool, Chi2 dish up a
charismatic blend of ‘East meets West’ rhythms and melodies.
Their music is a melting pot of style and influences and improvisations
with a plethora of weird noises and the odd sprinkling of live effects,
coupled with keyboard wizardry and angelic vocals. Their music is
harsh and pulsating one minute and lyrical and beautiful the next,
interspersed with textural fragments and snippets of musical conversation,
as they communicate in their sisterly language. Combined with specially
commissioned visuals, they present a visual and aural feast when
they perform live.
With their solid technical grounding and improvisational abilities they have become a much in-demand session duo, and they have
toured with Moby ('18' and 'Play' world tours), pop sensation Anastacia (Europe/ UK), electronic duo Lamb (Europe/UK) and have played/recorded with diverse artists such as Boy George, The Orb/KLF project, Nelly Furtado, Goldfrapp, Lamb, Barry Adamson, Uriah Heep
to name a few. Says Liz, "As session musicians we've been really privileged to have worked with a range of diverse and talented artists and musicians."
Despite their pop tendencies they are classically trained violinists and pianists - Liz studied at the Royal Academy of Music, Guildhall School of Music and Drama and City University and Sarah at Purcell School of Music, Middlesex University and Academy of Traditional Chinese Opera in Beijing. Sarah comments, "I'm glad we've done all that hardcore classical training as it's given us a firm foundation from which to create and build our own music."
So what have C H I 2 been up to?
Liz responds, "We're currently working on two multi-media projects.
The first, entitled Cultural Collision, explores our British
Chinese heritage in an audio-visual journey with visuals by ground-breaking
Polish VJ Mox (Ninja Tunes etc).We've just launched 'Chi2 Monkey King - A Modern Beijing Opera at the Bernie Grant Arts Centre in London which we're planning to tour next May as part of the CHINA NOW season. Watch this space for more details!"
No doubt we'll be hearing a lot more from the C H I 2 girls.