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Daniel Deng- The New Age Guru of The Dragon Land


Daniel Deng

Since my first article written for the audio-visual magazine four years ago about the New Age music, beginning with music therapy, after that I also wrote some other articles in some other times such as “The Middle Kingdom” and “Kong – Free & Natural” etc. Whether you realize or not, the role of New Age music has infiltrated into every step of our daily life-in the movies, praying, spa, and garden music etc.

Kitaro Yoga Healing Yanni Tibet New Age music


The New Age music plays such important role in our life, especially in the emotion, it’s because of the originating of New Age music was created for such purpose. Back into the years of 1960s the European and American electronic and acoustic musicians exploring music for creating expanded consciousness. In the late 1970s, music began to be recorded specifically for the purposes of meditation and relaxation, and it was limited to those purpose until the early 1980s, the term "New Age music" was introduced more widely to the public by radio stations and some record companies. The word “New Age” was then given the definition by “the Wave” radio station in Los Angeles, whilst most major cable television networks have channels that play music without visuals, including channels for New Age music, such as the "Soundscapes" channel on Music Choice.


New Age is music of emphasizing emotion and feeling other than the instruments used to creating it. It may be in the electronic form, acoustic form or combination of both, featuring instrument such as cellos, piano or even a band. Nowadays, there is a significant overlap of sectors of New Age music, Ambient music, electronica, World music, Chillout, spacemusic and others. New age music with an ambient sound that has the explicit purpose of aiding meditation and relaxation, or aiding and enabling various alternative spiritual practices.


New Age music which has been created from the West has spread widely and continually. In Thailand, we began listening New Age music in the type of spiritual and praying (mostly imported from abroad) or the garden music. We have been influenced by Kitaro’s New Age about 20 years ago, after that we haven’t seen any oriental music composer that can compete with Kitaro ever since.
For Asian New Age music composer that I’ve followed up his work since 2005 is Daniel Deng (Deng Weibiao in Chinese), ever since I wrote about his “Kong” album, I’ve put my eyes on his movement, his every single step of changing, and watching him creating new works regularly. He creates his works in earnest, not the perfunctory way. And most importantly, he is not dominated by the market, or in other words, not creating everything for the investors based on the market trend.

For the past three years of following up his works, I’ve found changes continually, but…one thing that never changes is that the featuring of the combination of electronic instruments and the ancient Chinese music instruments. Some of his work is bravely created for the new and unconventional contribution, such as the “New Age Cantonese Opera” as it is risky that may be against by the elder audience who are conservative and rejected by the younger audience who may dislike opera. But for an artist, the most important is the freedom and borderless of creating with regardless of nationality, religion and races which is the true freedom of mind. For those who have ever listened to Daniel Deng’s “Kong” would really realize and understand this matter.


However, before Daniel Deng standing on the present position, he has been seeking for the real substance of himself for several years. From the year of 1988 which was the early stage of Chinese music industry, he stepped into the music business by composing pop music. During the years of 1990s, he turned his direction starting new career in Malaysia for some record and advertising companies for some years. After that he went on his music education in Ukraine and brought his master’s degree in music back to his motherland devoting his knowledge for the music industry. He has been rewarded more than 30 awards, either from the county or the nation.

Kong - Free & Natural

He has been working behind the scene until 2005, he started creating his own albums. This is the way of expressing his own characteristic through his works. His first album which is the best one, in my opinion, that makes fame to him, is “Kong – Free & Natural” which was launched in March of 2005 and well-known throughout Asia. This album became remarkably famous again among Chinese net citizen during  Beijing 2008 Olympic Games when “You and Me”- the opening ceremony theme song’s melody was similar to or the same as one of his songs in this album -“Wu jue” (Senseless) (read more details in http://thaichinese.net/thaichineseblog/youandme/).

(Picture: Kong - Free & Natural)

se

One year after, he created another album – “Se” (Substance Desire & Spirit), but this album remain the same style of “Kong” (Free & Natural), seems like its part 2 album.

 

 

 

(Picture: Se - Substance Desire & Spirit

qian jiang hui liu

In 2005, the same year of launching “Kong”, he also launched his second album – “Qian jiang hui liu” or “Rivers – our Lifeblood” in September, this album features all the minority nationalities that located along the banks of the major rivers with different culture and music styles. The songs describes each minority through their own local musical instruments.

 

 

(Picture: Qian jiang hui liu” or “Rivers – our Lifeblood")

Gu cheng jinxi

In December of 2005, Daniel Deng created another album devoting to his own hometown, that is Guangzhou in his “Gu cheng jinxi” or “The past, the present and the future of Guangzhou”. He tells the story of Guangzhou in the past of thousand years history; from Qin Dynasty, once becoming an independent state till nowadays through the beautiful melody of violin performed by Guangzhou’s leading violinist-Zhang Yi.

 

 

(Picture: “Gu cheng jinxi” or “The past, the present and the future of Guangzhou”)

Hong loumeng

The following year, in June of 2006, Daniel Deng created “Hong lou shi’e cai” or “Dream of the Red Chamber” featuring the twelve ladies’ character in the famous ancient novel through the beautiful sound of ancient Chinese musical instrument – Pipa accompanied by the modern New Age music of Daniel Deng.

 

 

(Picture: “Hong lou shi’e cai” or “Dream of the Red Chamber”)

New Age Cantonese Opera

Three months later, in September of 2006, after his hard working and preparation for eight months, he broke the ground of traditional opera by launching “New Age Cantonese Opera”.  He bravely started the new page of opera history with his New Age music combining the traditional opera and narrowing the gap between the young and the old audiences.

 

 

 

 

(Picture: New Age Cantonese Opera)

Tragic love story of Xishi

In 2007, after performing various ancient Chinese instruments in his albums, he comes to “Erhu”- the two-string musical instrument in the album of “Qing shang” or “Tragic Love Story of Xishi”, which features the ancient beauty ‘Xishi”. This Erhu concerto plays so beautifully that can pull your feeling (maybe your tears) away in the song of 25 minutes and 17 seconds telling the whole tragic love story of Xishi.

 

(Picture: “Qing shang” or “Tragic Love Story of Xishi”)

Freezing Town

The latest album which launched in May 2008 is “Han feng zhen” or Freezing Town – the original soundtrack of the movie. This movie was planned to participate in the 2008 Bangkok International Film Festival in September, but has been cancelled due to the Thai government announced the martial law and caused most Chinese tourists cancel their trip to Thailand. This soundtrack featuring the sorrow, jealousy, hopelessness, hopefulness loneliness and love.

 

 

(Picture: “Han feng zhen” or Freezing Town)


Besides the above mentioned albums, there are also many others that he takes part in as music supervisor, such as the Chinese folk song album “Liu Shanjie” and the Christian songs “Amazing Grace” sung by the 13-year-old young girl, Sally etc.

 

(This article is translated from the audio-visual magazine “The Wave Magazine”, December 2008 issue, published in Thai – written by Fahlap)

 
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