The Braided Candle
Jewish Violin Meets Chinese Pipa
Steven Greenman (Violin) and Gao Hong (Pipa)
Artistic Collaboration

Two great masters of traditional folk music, Steven Greenman (Jewish violin) and Gao Hong (Chinese pipa) form a stunningly captivating artistic collaboration together pushing musical boundaries. Concerts feature an exploration of creative improvisations, challenging arrangements and nuanced inflections.  A beautiful blending of “string” sounds both bowed and plucked.  Ancient modes and soulful melodies fill the listener with delightful excitement and meditative contemplation.

Two of the world’s leading traditional folk artists, Gao Hong – Chinese pipa and Steven Greenman – Jewish/klezmer violin collaborate on a fantastic exploration of traditional sounds and experimental arrangements.  The combination is stunning and evocative.  Plucked and bowed strings weave a tapestry of musical impulses and delights. (website for Gao Hong)

The term Havdalah meaning “separation” is the Jewish religious ceremony marking the distinction of the Sabbath and holy days from the rest of the week; night from day; and the spiritual from the material.  For The Braided Candle project, the specially-braided Havdalah candle represents the musical entwining of two seemingly “separate” musical folk traditions:  Jewish and Chinese.

Drawing from their own unique musical and cultural backgrounds, internationally renowned masters of traditional folk music Steven Greenman (East European Jewish violin) and Gao Hong (Chinese pipa) expand the boundaries of traditional Jewish music through explorations of Jewish and Chinese musical improvisation, diverse and ancient musical modes, and contrasting rhythms.  In this captivating collaboration, a newly created repertoire combining elements of both Jewish and Chinese folk music styles will be presented in a full concert program.  Experimental arrangements will feature the nuanced sounds of both bowed and plucked strings.  Together, Steven and Gao will weave a braided tapestry of musical impulses, filling the listeners with delightful excitement and meditative contemplation. 

As a unique segment of the project, audience members will have the opportunity to request from the artists a particular theme from nature, spirituality, mysticism, the Jewish experience or the cultural Zeitgeist and the artists will create a unique musical improvisation exploring the thematic concept.  Audiences will further have the opportunity to ask the artists about the process of musical collaboration and to discuss how fusions of Jewish music with musical styles from other cultures further define Jewish music, add to its creativity or weaken its significance.  The Braided Candle project will also include impactful workshops/masterclasses led by two of the world’s greatest exponents of Jewish and Chinese traditional folk music.

The Braided Candle project brings separate and distinct peoples together; encourages cross-cultural understanding; and creates an opportunity to share knowledge while expanding the role of Jewish music through mutual respect and friendship.