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The famous China Broadcasting Chinese Orchestra made its India debut to a thunderous applause from a housefull audience at Mumbai's Ravindra Natya Mandir on Friday. The performance, as part of the India-China Music Festival 2012, will be repeated at the Siri Fort auditorium in Delhi on November 27.
The festival, a part of India and China's cultural diplomacy efforts, is significant as this year has been declared as the year of Indo-China friendship by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the outgoing Chinese President Hu Jintao.
The China Broadcasting Chinese Orchestra was founded in the year 1949. Since then, it has taken the lead in establishing the Chinese orchestra pattern and consists of renowned musicians from China. Zhang Zihong, Cultural Counsellor, Embassy of China, noted that the orchestra offered Indians a deeper understanding of Chinese culture. "This will facilitate more frequent cultural exchanges between China and India," he said.
In Mumbai, the 100-member orchestra, led by chief conductor Pang Kapang, played the national anthems of both countries before letting traditional and modern Chinese music take over. Thus, soft oriental rhythms alternated with peppy, foot-stomping numbers. A magic show was also included into the evening's repertoire.
The orchestra also showcases traditional Chinese instruments and 30 traditional and modernised instruments were used to create a larger-than-life musical confluence in Mumbai. Just when the audience, among them a sizeable number of Chinese expatriates, got used to the Chinese melodies, the orchestra struck up the tunes of Aajao Tadapte Hai Armaan from the Bollywood film Awaara in order to celebrate 100 years of Indian cinema.
Maharashtra minister Nitin Raut credited the late filmmaker Raj Kapoor with popularising Hindi film music in China. "I am confident that this performance will open up new opportunities for cultural exchange between the two nations," he said.
The show in Delhi will celebrate the Bollywood connect further as singer Kavita Krishnamurthy will perform with her violinist husband, Dr L Subramaniam and son, Ambi Subramaniam. The show will mark the Subramaniam Jr's debut as a vocalist. Expect 14 songs such as Rahe na Rahe hum, Kabhi Kabhi Mere Dil and Ajeeb Dastan hai Yeh.