When Nanyin encounters Polish music

Updated: Dec 6, 2019 L M S

Maria Pomianowska and her folk band from Poland did a surprisingly good job in combining Nanyin -- one of China’s oldest forms of musical art and also a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage recognized in 2019 -- with traditional Polish instruments. 

The Polish band staged a beautiful performance using traditional Chinese and Polish instruments at the 4th Maritime Silk Road Arts Festival, held in the coastal city of Quanzhou in eastern Fujian province on Nov 22-27. 

The multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, composer and teacher has since 2011 composed and performed unique programs featuring Polish traditional music with world-famous artists from around the globe. 

In 2013, she came to Quanzhou and fell in love with the local music -- Nanyin -- almost immediately. After that encounter, she embarked on an innovative musical journey with local Nanyin musicians and composers. 

When asked about what captured her attention to Nanyin music, Maria said: “Because of the authenticity. For me it’s so authentic, pure and clear.”  

“It is really something that touches hearts. I feel the same feelings when I play old Polish music. Even if this is a completely different music, something in the emotions is similar.” 

The city of Quanzhou was honored as one of the Historic Cultural Cities in China by the State Council. It was the starting point of the ancient Maritime Silk Road and one of China’s first cities to establish business relations and cultural communications with the outside world. 

The city's time-honored cultural heritage, such as puppetry shows and Nanyin music were put in the spotlight at the arts festival. 

Today, Quanzhou is hailed as a pilot area for the Belt and Road Initiative proposed by the central government.

Local officials said it would make every effort to play its part in boosting economic and cultural cooperation between China and the world.