Arts / Big Band meets Sichuan melodies

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THE Australian Art Orchestra is coming to Ainslie Arts Centre tonight (August 23) for the Canberra premiere of a new work, “Water Pushes Sand”.  

Composer Erik Griswold and the orchestra is teaming up with musicians and performers from China’s Sichuan Province to create a collage of winds, piano and percussion as the ten-piece Big Band fuses traditional Sichuan melodies and rhythms with modern jazz improvisation.

Griswold says:“‘Water Pushes Sand’ is a celebration of cultures coming together… I’m treating Sichuan music as a living tradition, and trying to capture not just the music, but also the feeling in the streets and the personality of the people.”

Griswold and Australian Art Orchestra associate, Vanessa Tomlinson, have been travelling to Sichuan for 15 years, learning about the local music and collaborating with musicians and dancers.

“My first visit to Sichuan was intoxicating and bewildering, I was completely blown away by unfamiliar sights, sounds and flavours,” he says.

“Over the years I’ve been really lucky to meet some incredibly generous musicians who’ve introduced me to the culture, and it’s very rewarding to be able to introduce them to Australian audiences.”

“Water Pushes Sand”, Main Hall, Ainslie Arts Centre, Elouera Street, Braddon, 7.30pm, tonight, Wednesday, August 23. Bookings to  or 6182 0000 or at the door.

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Helen Musa
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