Twelve Girls Band is a band from People’s Republic of
Not only because the girls play instrumental music but also because they gracefully mix western songs and composition within Chinese theme to be a wonderful arrangement. Through their dizi, pipa, erhu, yangqin and guzheng, they deliver various genres of music. Sometimes they perform in a calm symphony, but then they could easily jump into dynamic rock. One thing for sure, composing western style into traditional-pentatonic taste is such a huge job.
Chinese traditional music, as well as other pentatonic music in the world, contains only 5 tones (compare with the diatonic music containing the 1-7 tones we used to hear). Chinese traditional music doesn’t have the 4th and the 7th tone. That’s why I said it is a big challenge to serve popular western song with traditional music devices.
It may be quite late for me, I just recently found Twelve Girls Band when I look for any record containing the sound of guzheng—pronounced: “Ku Cheng”—a Chinese traditional plucked-string music device. I have listened to a little sample of their tracks, and I’d like to review some:
Shining Energy: being mentioned in almost every of their recent publication, Shining energy is a very good introduction for new audiences. It is light and cheerful in the mood.
My Heart Will Go On: if you have heard the instrumental version (by Kenny G) of this Titanic movie soundtrack, you should take notice to 12 Girls Band too. Notice how the sound of guzheng could reserve Celine Dion’s vocal in the different form of a beauty. It is also notable how they make it not to be too sad (like the original version) without minimizing the charming aura of the song.
I think even James Horner (the original composer of My Heart Will Go On) should consider this.
Doraemon No Uta: is there anyone in the world who has never heard this cute song? Then be happy by listening to their bright composition! Interpret also how their ingenious ornament and interlude upbeat the song.
Obladi Oblada: wait, not so fast ... they put more teasing tone on the intro of this legendary single which was originally composed by The Beatles. This 12 Girls Band composition does rejuvenate the Desmond and Molly Jones’ sugary story.
Clocks: I personally do not interest to Coldplay but I believe that through this cover version song, the wavy sound of erhu has varied the unique vocal of Chris Martin
My next recommendation will be Bach’s Tribute Concerto, Sekai Ni Hitotsu Dake No Hana and Entertainer. Take note also their New Classicism (Medley) tracks which remixes Mozart’s and Bach’s composition.
Obviously, Twelve Girls Band increases my knowledge about Chinese music and they do entertain me. Once, I thought it was banjo played on their country theme, but then I realize that it was still guzheng (or dizi?). I start to be able to distinguish between violin and erhu by the sound. I really appreciate how they enrich contemporary music with Chinese tradition, still in an uncomplicated listening manner and without being stuck in old-fashioned pattern.
* the tracks are available for commercial download here. The image was also retrieved from the previous link