Here's the solo piano version of commissioned soundtrack for contemporary dance piece "Missing Parts", commemorating the Chinese Labour Corps (CLC), numbering around 100,000 who were recruited by the British and French armies to work behind the Western Front. They left home to travel abroad and ended up in labour camps, digging trenches and other dangerous work.
In researching this, I was inspired by traditional Chinese music, the beautiful lines of Pipa music, the compositions of Chinese composer Doming Lam, and of course, articles and film footage of the CLC.
The sweet, lyrical opening (D major) paints a scene from a Chinese watercolour, while the nostalgic melody of the main theme conjures up moody Wong Kar Wei films, conveying the CLC's reluctance to leave home for the unknown (D major/B minor). Gradually, we are drawn into dark chaos. The sinister machine-like rumble and spooky dissonance in "Monotony" (Eb min/E min) is repeated three times symbolising the CLC's three year labour camp stay under the British leads to a Björk-fuelled revolt with convulsive rhythms (five-beat with a "missing part"!). Out of this emerges a teardrop mist, the delicate and dreamy "Nostalgia" (C major/A minor), in which memories of home are encountered, a restrained yet brooding climax, and then bells revealing the sweet seven-beat tread and a tender finish. There's probably some Debussy lurking in the waves and also one or two hidden ironic music quotes... (Can you spot them?)
Composed and Performed by Angelus Squid Marr
Sound Engineer: https://www.facebook.com/Thesoundmechanic/
Two contemporary dancers, the magical presence of a live Pipa (Chinese Lute) instrumentalist and atmospheric piano backing will bring this intensely poignant story to London at the Southbank Centre on 16th December, 2016.
Of the 43,000 WW1 memorials in Britain, not one commemorates the CLC. http://ensuringweremember.org.uk/ and most non-Chinese people have never heard of them! "Missing Parts" is a quarter of "Project New Earth" commissioned by Chinese Art Space (CAS) in which diverse artist projects use film/dance/song/drama/animation to educate and inspire about the CLC.
There are a number of articles and just a few of them are here:
"Missing Parts" premiered in London at The China Exchange on September 8th 2016, and then travelled to Liverpool, Folkestone and Plymouth in October, places where the CLC are buried, with the intention of commemorating and also informing members of all types of communities.
"Missing Parts" credits:
Choreographer: Lucia Tong
Composer/Performer: Angelus Squid Marr
Pipa: Cheng Yu (London)/ Sherry Min (Liverpool, Folkestone, Plymouth)
Motion Graphics: Charlie Taillard
Dancers: Sonja Perreten and King San Lo
Costume Designer: Robin Harvey
"Project New Earth" is produced by Chinese Art Space (CAS).
More info here: http://www.casuk.org/
The copyright of the audio track and the video belongs to Angelus Squid Marr.
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