Music: Shanghai Restoration Project

Inspired by Shanghai’s Swingin’ 1920s and ‘30s and led by the Emmy-winning producer Dave Liang, the New York-based Shanghai Restoration Project mixes elements of Chinese culture with electronica and hip hop to create a diverse multi-media performance. Featuring Zhang Le, the Shanghai songstress that celebrated conductor Tan Dun called “remarkable,” the group’s music is both steeped in the past, while providing the soundtrack to the “Chinese” (aka: 21st) Century.

Dave Liang, alongside Wu Man and Haruka Fujii, discuss their work crossing cultural and genre boundaries and efforts at opening a truly global dialogue through their art on Friday, July 11 at 7pm in Zone 6.

Everyone: FREE

Saturday, July 12, 2014
9:30PM – 11:00PM
235 Queens Quay West

In the 1920s and ‘30s, Shanghai was the “Paris of the East.” Jazz bands, who added local flavour to the imported music, flourished, spilling out of the bars, clubs and speakeasies that dotted the city. The Swingin’ Shanghai of that era attracted an international assortment of party people and not only reinvented Western concepts of the East, but influenced the culture of the West.

Drawing on that Swinging Shanghai period, the Shanghai Restoration Project blends Chinese culture, hip-hop and electronic music with stunning visuals to create a wholly unique multi-media performance. The group’s music embodies the intersection at which China currently finds itself: With a boundless and hyper-modern future ahead, the question becomes the extent to which its colourful and varied past can inform and complement what’s next. Emmy-winning producer Dave Liang and collaborator Jamahl Richardson take listeners on a sonic journey through the city, while the sultry vocals of Zhang Le – described by Oscar and Grammy-winning composer Tan Dun as “a rising young star with a remarkable gift” – provides the narration. The diverse repertoire of music accompanied by projected artwork and footage of Shanghai from leading Chinese visual artists evokes Shanghai’s infectious energy with a beat-driven, interactive show that draws its creative inspiration from old 1930s Shanghai jazz bands.

In early 2014, the group released The Classics, featuring reinventions of a dozen classic Shanghai jazz tunes, featuring Zhang Le on vocals. The album cracked iTunes’ Electronic chart’s Top 10 and was featured on National Public Radio.

Praise for Shanghai Restoration Project:

“Superb.” – MSN Music

“period-piercing confections” San Francisco Chronicle

About Dave Liang

Dave Liang (keyboard, vocals) is the Emmy-winning creator and producer of the Shanghai Restoration Project. His music has reached the top of the electronic charts and can often be heard in television shows, tastemaker radio programs, and advertising campaigns around the world. His projects have received coverage in The New York Times, NPR’s All Things Considered, BBC, and The Wall Street Journal. He has performed across the US and Asia at events and venues including the Sundance Film Festival, MASS MoCA, The Viper Room, the Hong Kong New Vision Festival and more. In addition to his production work for artists on his own label, Undercover Culture Music, Liang has also worked with artists on Bad Boy, Warner, Yamaha, and Universal.

About Jamahl Richardson

Jamahl Richardson (electronics, MC) performs with the Shanghai Restoration Project during live shows. Independently, he is an accomplished composer and producer whose music has been licensed to ESPN, NBC, UNICEF, and Bravo. In 2011, he wrote and produced the music for the documentary Third and Long, which featured narration by Chuck D of Public Enemy and aired on CBS and The NFL Network. He produced One Immortal Day, an album for Emmy-award winning musician Michal Towber, and has directed and shot videos on multiple continents which have aired on both MTV and VH1.

About Zhang Le 

Zhang Le (vocals) has been described by by Oscar-winning composer Tan Dun (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) as “a rising young star with a remarkable gift.” Her innovative blend of traditional Chinese folk and modern jazz have captured the attention of American and Chinese audiences alike. A graduate of the New England Conservatory of Music, she won the Sir Roland Hanna Memorial Award for Jazz Performance in New York City in 2009. An accomplished arranger and vocalist, Zhang is currently active in both New York and Shanghai. Her recent performances include the Shanghai International Jazz Festival, the Bryant Park Fall Festival, the Asia Society, and The Stone in NYC.