Celebrated Chinese musician a great admirer of Tagore songs

One of Tagore`s famous poems on daybreak captivated Li Yuening at a tender age.

Last Updated: May 08, 2011, 15:32 PM IST

Kolkata: One of the Rabindranath Tagore`s famous poems on daybreak captivated celebrated Chinese musician Li Yuening at a tender age and she decided to follow the path of the bard.
Yuening, who was here to perform on the occasion of the 150th birth anniversary of Tagore, said she first read the poem `Nirjharer Swapnobhongo` when she was in school in Beijing and was immediately struck by the tapestry of imageries.

"The breaking of dawn at the end of a long night with the day light slowly enveloping every alley and corner just put me in a trance," she recalled.

Yuening was instrumental in introducing to the world of music the stringed instrument `Yangqin` from her land which has, according to her, similarities with Santoor.

Yuening told reporters, "Tagore through his universality has appealed to the sense of every citizen in the world. He has the words for every mood and situation, for every season and surrounding and for every part of the day."

She said she had read over 100 poems of the Bard translated into Mandarin.

As for his songs, she was charmed by the tunes and said she would like to adapt them into Chinese rhythm so that they become more acceptable to the music lovers in her country.

`Privileged` to be part of the poet`s 150th birth anniversary as she played the yangqin to Tagore songs at the Heritage hall here on Friday evening three days before Tagore`s birth anniversary date, she said she would be happy
to perform in other cities as well.

"I would be happy to hold similar programmes in other cities in India as well as China with the involvement of Indian and Chinese musicians. I want to spread Tagore more and more through my instrument."

Struck by the similarities between India and China in culture and music, she wondered if the cultural roots had sprung from a single seed and advocated research to find that out.

Yuengin had been to Delhi for a Ford foundation programme two years back and also to Kolkata last year in her first visit to introduce her version of Tagore songs to the cultural circle here.

Asked if she would be able to reach masses just by performing before select audiences in the city, Yuengin said, "I am getting positive reaction. My friend and santoor guru Tarun Bhattacharya says it is a welcome idea. But I want to do everything while not taking a big break from the classical Tagore gharana."