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As they build a lasting musical bridge between East and West, Twelve Girls Band from the People's Republic of China, return with Romantic Energy, a vibrant new showcase of abundantly diverse music. The group's vivid originality and special enchantment has charmed the people of many nations around the globe, making them a 21st century phenomenon.
A multi-platinum selling act all over Asia, the Twelve Girls Band fill arenas there, and has now been discovered by America. The aptly-titled, evocative and sweeping Romantic Energy, is a two-disc CD and DVD collection that follows-up the group's 2004 U.S. arrival, Eastern Energy, which entered at Number 62 on the Billboard 200 album chart. Their charting marked the highest debut in Billboard history by an Asian recording artist. The album also debuted in the Top 10 on the Internet Album Sales Chart, keeping company with names such as Tim McGraw and Usher. In Japan alone, the ensemble is already a supergroup, selling more than two million records, and has even appeared in TV ads for chocolate and cell phones, among other products.
Drawing upon more than 1,500 years of traditional Chinese music, the group blends that rich legacy with classical, folk, and contemporary sounds. They weave a vividly lush and original landscape that finds kinship in the orchestrated Celtic pieces, such as Riverdance and the haunting strains of Eastern Europe, while also offering a new vision of today's pop music.
The Twelve Girls Band signifies the symbolic choice of a dozen members found in various aspects of Chinese numerology with twelve months in a year; and in ancient mythology, twelve jinchai (golden hairpins, which represent womanhood). Inspiration was also drawn from Yue Fang, the female chamber orchestras that played in the royal courts of the Tang Dynasty.
Each member of the Twelve Girls Band ensemble is classically trained, with backgrounds that include the China Academy of Music; the Chinese National Orchestra; and the Central Conservatory of Music. Skilled multi-instrumentalists, they perform on traditional Chinese instruments that include the zither-like gu zheng with adjustable bridges, and as many as 25 strings. They also play a squared-off hammered dulcimer called a yang qin; the erhu, which is a two-string violin; the pear-shaped, four-stringed pipa lute; and the bamboo dizi and vertical xiao flutes. Electronic keyboards and punctuating percussion add modern textures for spellbinding creations that span the centuries.
As the group released its American debut Eastern Energy in 2004, critics were ecstatic over rapturous renditions of Coldplay's Clocks and Enya's Only Time, calling it folk techno-fusion. Varietytrumpeted, China dolls take traditional music off the shelf and CNN reported, Twelve girls rock the classics.
The band's first U.S. tour drew both awe and frequent smiles, while reviewers noted the effortless blending of pieces by Mozart and Beethoven, alongside startling renditions of jazz standards like Dave Brubeck's Take Five, To quote TIME magazine: There's something mesmerizing about the band's graceful stage presence, their technical virtuosity -- and most of all, their euphoric expressions as they play their instruments.
The entrancing and expansive music on the new Romantic Energy reflects the group honoring their heritage, combined with a genuine love for all styles of music -- from complex classical works to enduring pop tunes. The aura of a beaming morning sun colors the album's title song; and a lovely wistful version of Simon and Garfunkel's El Condor Pasa brings a new dimension to a beloved classic. Other highlights include the liquid flow of River Shule, the fragile beauty of Whispering Earth and lively impressionistic Carnival as well as the traditionally-based Tan Court Ensemble.
Eastern Energy heralded the international arrival of Twelve Girls Band, Now with Romantic Energy, the group's joyous creative spirit continues to blossom, offering a lush garden of musical delights to lift the heart and sooth the soul.
For Twelve Girls Band, music is a blissful exploration upon which to take wing and soar.
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