Hunting Eagles Catch Swans - Chinese Pudong Music

Lin Shicheng and Gao Hong

中国琵琶《海青拿天鹅》 - 一代宗师林石城与高足高虹演奏

2021 Global Music Award - Best Album and Instrumental Gold Medals

Songlines Magazine's pick for"The Best New Albums from Around the World"


A truly historic recording, among the last ever made by pipa master Lin Shicheng, in duet with his
student Gao Hong. Featuring a never-before-heard rendition of the Chinese evergreen Moonlight Over
the Spring River, this selection of songs showcases a rarely-seen virtuosity of the pipa and command of
Chinese musical tradition.

Review from U.K.

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The album starts in lively fashion with the Jiangnan sizhu ‘Three Six’ – the uncommon duo pipa arrangementdrawing out all of the  counterpoint the tune has to offer. The solo ‘Autumn Thoughts’ is of a starker, more contemplative mood, with Lin Shicheng’s deft left hand vibrato evoking a disquieted mind on a tranquil night. Gao Hong is given her own space to shine, particularly on the stunning performance of ‘Dragon Boat’, in which the pipa conjures the excitement of a boat race by imitating the sounds of gongs and drums. The album closes with an arrangement of the famous wen (civil) style piece ‘Moonlight Over the Spring River’, here adapted for pipa and zhongruan. Recorded in a single, unedited take, this is the only recording of this arrangement of the piece, and serves as a capstone to an essential document of pipa mastery.

Review from U.S:

"Two of China’s finest pipa players have released Hunting Eagles Catching Swans. The recording is a historical, symbolic album highlighting one of the greatest pipa (Chinese lute) masters of all time: Lin Shicheng. The album features dazzling duo interplay and prodigiously performed solo pieces as well".- World Music Central - Angel Romero

"It is a fascinating example of Chinese traditional chamber sounds, something to hear repeatedly, as is the entire album, filled with subtlety and drama, some of the strongest traditions of world string playing at its very best... And most importantly it is a marvelous example of the interplay of two pipa virtuosi of the highest caliber, with Shicheng and Gao Hong in perfect synchrony, giving forth with a tremendously vital dual artistry.” - Gapplegate Guitar and Bass Blog by Grego Edward

Review from Westzeit Germany:

"Whoever - for whatever reason - gets on your nerves with the whole Christmas groaning this year, one way to calm yourself down is with the exotic but fascinating “Chinese Pudong Pipa Music", which LIN SHICHENG and GAO HONG bring together under the beautiful title "Hunting Eagles Catching Swans". Over an hour of classical Chinese lute music that is really worth listening to from Master Shicheng (the "Ravi Shankar of the Pipa" - on one of his last recordings as he died in 2005) and his favorite student.”

Review from Italy

"Lin Schicheng and Gao Hong have fidelity, originality and inventiveness in their fingers with which to masterfully blend cultured and popular in a performance-testimony that flows brilliantly from the first to the last note. - Ciro De Rosa 

Review from Russia

“Chinese music for pipa performed at the highest level.” - Leonid AUSKERN

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"From Our World to Yours" New Album Just Released - April 24, 2020 by ARC Music in U.K.

This New Album just Won - Album and Instrumentals Two Gold Medals from the 2020e Global Music Awards"

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Review from U.K:

From Our World to Yours - Gao Hong and Issam Rafae Duo

Another Excellent Instalmenta

"... A mood of deep contemplation and gentle is retained, with the sonorous low-end of the oud blending wonderfully with the weeping tremolo of the pipa. Although on this recording, the duo allows room for more abstract experimentation, often verging on the avant-garde.
In pieces such as 'Outer Space' and 'Robot', both players eke a vast array of textures from their instruments cascades of bell-like harmonics collide with string scrapes, and on-body percussion - creating brief moments of atonal impressionism. These exploratory passages are always tempered by emotional pathos- especially during the forlorn counterpoint of 'A Mother's Plea' - and playful levity, as displayed on 'Joyful Dance'. The chemistry between Gao Hong and Issam Rafea is never less than impeccable, and this recording serves as the next instalment in a fascinating ongoing conversation."

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Review from Sweden:

"... Incredibly beautiful atmospheres, where oud and pipa marry in a seamless way...'Touching" and "enriching", is the word. - Something that can be said to apply to the entire album..."

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Review from France:

"... the duo’s discussions are often in a language all their own, spacious, expressive, and convincing. The nice, dry, open sound of the live recording allows an excellent appreciation of the dynamics, timbres, and particularly the percussive possibilities that Hong and Rafea enthusiastically exploit"

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Review from Italy:

"... The duo's music reveals a surprisingly engaging harmonious. sound full of colors with great evocative and contemplative effect...Seamlessly, without failing, "From our World to Yours" is an admirable conversation between masters”

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Review from U.S:

"It is the most productive of cultural exchanges, a true bridging of two venerable traditions via two brilliant exponents. The masterful Gao Hong and Issam Rafea leave us with a most pleasurable and striking synergy on From Our World to Yours. It is a triumph of the globalized world we live in today, perhaps almost unimaginable 100 years ago. That it took place is cause for appreciation; that it is as brilliant as it is comes out of the sheer musical inventiveness and exceptional openness of the two artists involved. Bravo!."

For the full review please click here

From Our World to Yours: Gao Hong and Issam Rafea Improvise Vibrant Soundworlds

"From Our World to Yours is a powerful corrective to such a narrative—it shows us a vibrant living tradition, open to new ideas and interpretations."

For the full review please click here

For more informationa and reviews

A star-studded CD featuring two Grammy-winning performers
"Pipa Potluck-Lutes Around the World" - Gao Hong and Friends -
Winner of the 2016 Global Music Award Silver Medal- Outstanding Album Award
Original Composition "Green Willow Tree" 2016 Global Music Award Silver Medal
- Outstanding Achievement for Instrumental Music
- Nominated in the World Beat Album Category for in The 15th Annual Independent Music Awards

gao Hong New CDGao Hong

For more info about the musicians please click the picture

CD Title


Review from U.K:

Pipa Potluck - Lutes Around The World

"The interplay between Gao Hong and the other musicians is impeccable, evidencing an intimate personal connection and, crucially, an overriding sense of joy…
There are no weak moments, as each of the collaborators brings remarkable sensitivity and taste and it is a credit to Hong's range as an instrumentalist that she can shift between styles with such apparent effortlessness."
Charlie Cawood

"Pipa Potluck (Innova 916) by Gao Hong & Friends isn't the first album of pipa duets with other stringed instruments, but it may turn out to be the benchmark. Gao Hong is joined by an illustrious selection of musical friends that include Alison Brown (banjo), Darol Anger (fiddle) and George Kahumoku Jr. Cluck Old Hen sets the tone as a stately barnyard strut and there's some nice interplay between pipa and slack-key guitar on The Source Of The Spring Water. Gao's own playing is both sensitive and subtle: particularly on the opening passages of Green Willow Tree before it segues into bluegrass. Her duets with the oud players Yair Dalal and Bassam Saba are a particular highlight, and the pipa- oud combination gives a somewhat Greek feel to their version of Longa Nahawand."

Review from Italy:

Gao Hong and Friends: "Pipa Potluck - Lutes Around the World in the company of a group of fine musicians, united by craftsmanship, string instruments and led by Gao Hong, pipa virtuoso, ancient instrument with four strings of Chinese origin, whose sound is close to that of the mandolin, but it has a really unique reverb round, which invades the space sound so unique and fascinating. But space, Gao Hong is pleased to share with her fellow adventurers, who, with their guitars, banjo, fiddle, oud and percussion give color combinations that evoke the different cultures of your tracks, ranging from bluegrass to Eastern tradition and Arabic, lead track. The interplay between the musicians, especially among the tools most similar, is extremely well together; the interweaving of melodies mellow and catchy rhythms irresistible. Listening experience life and imbued with human warmth." (★★★★)

Review from U.S:

"An excellent example of the convergent possibilities can be found in the recent album...Gao and her friends produce a remarkable series of pieces that call upon traditions and create new music as well that combines such traditions in unprecedented ways...This is a wonderful tribute to the flexibility of Gao Hong's musical approach and of course of all of her friends. We are treated to unusual combinations of Chinese, bluegrass, Hawaiian and Mid-Eastern music. Throughout we get some marvelous playing and some ingenious multi-cultural adaptations. It is great fun and seriously good fusion of the true sort. Do not hesitate to get this. It's one-of-a-kind and a fabulous listen."

The serene "Lutes Around The World" finishes the album with poignant strings and delightful melodies. Fans of strings, lutes, Chinese folk, neo-classical, new age, bluegrass, Arabic, folk, Americana, and world music in general will love to sample Pipa Potluck. Remember to leave room on your plate for additional listens! ~ Matthew Forss

"Gao Hong's friends are well known virtuoso instrumentalists in their respective genres so there is an abundance of mesmerizing interplay."

"Pipa Potluck" ranked in the top 10 in several world music charts in the U.S. and Canada. Musician and author Ted Gioia - who has been called "one of the outstanding music historians in America” - listened to over 1000 CDs in all styles and genres before determining “The 100 Best Albums of 2015.”  “Pipa Potluck” received an Honorable Mention as a “recording of distinction” alongside CDs by Itzhak Perlman & Emanuel Ax, Terry Riley, Canned Heat with John Lee Hooker, Queen Latifah, and Willie Nelson & Merle Haggard. Her “Cluck Old Hen” track was listed in Gioia’s “My 201 Favorite Tracks of 2015” that also included selections from Adele, Bob Dylan, Kendrick Lamar, Kronos Quartet, Weather Report and others.

Gao Hong CD

Quiet Forest, Flowing Stream - New Chinese Pipa Music by Gao Hong

Price: $16.99 (including Shipping) To Listen the music click Here

CD Title

The pipa stringed instrument has been a fixture of traditional Chinese music for many centuries. More like a guitar (it has a neck, for example) in construction than a koto, in the right hands it has a delicate resonance that distinguishes it from any other. Gao Hong certainly has the right hands.

Gao also has a conceptual mind that dares to compose and arrange music that brings the traditional Chinese instrument into a musical world it has not inhabited before. Quiet Forest, Flowing Stream (Innova 240) is quite an achievement. Gao plays with a real virtuoso's mastery. She has for this album created six quite varied musical contexts. She can be found playing a fascinating Chinese-Indian hybrid, a contemporary-improvisation-meets-Chinese-meets-Japanese-Taiko-drumming piece, in a quasi-Western-classical mode, and in a solo context where the pipa tradition is invoked with sensitivity and musical bravura.

I've certainly never heard anything like this one before. What's most impressive is not so much that she attempts these unusual and unprecedented stylistic syzygys. It's that the resulting music wholly succeeds; so much so that it even sounds like a natural and inevitable thing that's been happening for centuries, which of course it has not.

I can't say enough nice things about this one. If you want to branch off onto a quite different musical path, listen to this one. It's rather incredible really.

More review around the World:

“Quiet Forest, Flowing Stream” is Hong’s first album featuring her own compositions. This virtuoso composed nearly every piece on the album, and her music seethes with passion and virility even as it typifies artistic delicacy and restraint.

The instrumentation is superb. Far from becoming a reckless mishmash of varied ethnicities, the instruments complement, balance, and enhance one other. The first composition, “Butterfly,” is an ecstatic interplay of cello, voice, veena, tabla, and pipa. The title track is a blissfully enchanting duet between the pipa and the sitar (played by Joseph Schad).

“Courage” and “Celebration” are both Hong’s tributes to her daughter Alida, the survivor of a long and painful struggle with leukemia. But these are far from the sentimental rhapsodies one might expect in response to this subject. Manic voices and driving, aggressive percussion signify a strength and determination that’s jarringly beautiful.

Quiet Forest, Flowing Stream manifests six of The Mindful Bard’s criteria for music well worth a listen: 1) it is authentic, original, and delightful; 2) it makes me want to be a better artist; 3) it gives me tools which help me be a better artist; 4) it displays an engagement with and compassionate response to suffering; 5) it inspires an awareness of the sanctity of creation; and 6) it provides respite from a sick and cruel world, a respite enabling me to renew myself for a return to mindful artistic endeavour.

“Gao Hong shows with these projects a renewal of Chinese music tradition, ready for the world to embrace. I have the impression a new territory has been shown as a new way by Gao Hong. I hope it leads to a path where more Chinese musicians are able to show what is possible to introduce themselves more easily into the world.”

“Quiet Forest, Flowing Stream” is representative of her newest accomplishments. She herself composed most of the pieces in the album, depicting not only the extreme hardships and bitters, but also memories about the happiness and peace of life. She also expresses her pursuit of dreams, in which mysterious colorful clouds dye the whole sky. It is very fortunate that Gao Hong has performed and fully appreciated the essence of this precious piece of folk music, while adding her own distinct touch.”

That the pipa player Gao Hong has long lived in the US is evident in this collection, which reveals a depth of multiculturalism and synthesis of elements from India and Japan rarely found in her native China. All of the instruments recorded here are nicely up-front and resonant. The players themselves combine solid traditional technique with 21-century musical vision.

The title-track is a fine sonic painting of nature, combining Indian and Chinese plucked strings to great effect. The music is mesmerizing without resorting to clichés.

The standout track here is “Celebration” a work commissioned by the Jerome Foundation. In addition to their virtuosic display of drumming and strumming techniques, the musicians join in vocally, with a veritable vocabulary of phonemes communicating unbridled joyfulness.

“One of the true virtuosos of the World Music scene… Quiet Forest, Flowing Stream is filled with meditative serene soundscapes and serves as an audio visit to the Far East.”
MWE3 Record Label Spotlight                                              

“On Quiet Forest, Flowing Stream, Gao Hong offers a bold vision of how the pipa (a Chinese four stringed lute-like instrument) can be used in novel cross-cultural musical fusions… the blending of the pipa and veena creates a lush and exotic pan-Asian confection.”
Driftwood Music Magazine

“The project is innovative and bold, yet sensitive and delicate. It combines Gao Hong’s virtuosic pipa performance with her seasoned musical creativity. It also builds inter-cultural links that explore musical extremes with a sense of belonging for everyone.”
Victor Fung, Professor of University of South Florida and Director of Center for Music Education Research

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