Njo Kong Kie (Canada)
Set to the poetry of Xu Lizhi, Njo Kong Kie’s song cycle uses the human voice, the piano, and video imagery to create a tragic but beautiful cry of protest in solidarity with immiserated workers everywhere.
In this haunting song cycle, composer and performer Njo Kong Kie 楊光奇 sets the poetry of Xu Lizhi 許立志 to song and delivers a lamentation for our digital age. Xu toiled in a factory in Shenzhen, China, where he, along with hundreds of thousands of others who were unseen and ignored, manufactured the digital devices we use every day. Xu’s spare and profound poetry is an indictment of labour exploitation, and it also offers a glimpse into his interior life: his hopes, his dreams, and his struggle under the unbearable weight of existence.
Kong Kie’s score for solo voice and piano is performed in Mandarin, with English surtitles that are integrated into a rich tapestry of video imagery. The result is a contemplative landscape—and a powerful insistence on Xu’s humanity. This is a work about human dignity and economic injustice, each set against the other in a conflict as familiar as it is tragic. In the synthesis of the two artists, we have a vital human document, an act of political witness, and, not least, a performance of great beauty.
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Njo Kong Kie takes a walk through the streets of Toronto, and invites you to share his journey in a place of your own choosing. The musical accompaniment is drawn from the artist’s own Picnic in the Cemetery,and it’s a delight for the ears. Interspersed with the melodic interludes are Kong Kie’s musings on ideology, interpersonal connections, Kung-Fu flicks, ambition, and more, including the true cost of our smartphones.
Text by Njo Kong Kie except the poem 一颗螺丝掉在地上 “A single screw fell to the ground” by Xu Lizhi, translated into English by Derek Kwan
Music by Njo Kong Kie, performed by Simon Claude, Alexandre Castonguay and Njo Kong Kie
Track details: Moments Cinématiques no 1, Quatrième Confession, Ljubljana, Moments Cinématiques no 11, Sweet, Toujours
NJO KONG KIE
Composer / Director / Performer / Co-Producer
A picnic and ping pong enthusiast, Kong Kie is also a composer for dance, opera and theatre. Works include music for the play Infinity (Tarragon, Cultch); operas knotty together (SummerWorks) and La Señorita Mundo (SummerWorks); the concert-theatre Picnic in the Cemetery (Canadian Stage, Ansan Street Arts Festival), music theatre Mr. Shi and His Lover (Toronto Theatre Critics Awards: Best New Musical; SummerWorks, Tarragon, the National Arts Centre, Cervantino Festival) and the song cycle I swallowed a moon made of iron (Canadian Stage). Kong Kie has created soundtrack for several contemporary dance production worldwide and was the long-serving music director of La La La Human Steps. His screen soundtrack includes Fisk: Untitled Portrait, Off Kilter and China Rises. Works in development include: The Year of the Cello, a p lay with solo cello music set in Hong Kong in the 1920s (with Marjorie Chan) and The Futures Market, an opera exploring the complex moral dimensions of the trade in human organs (with Douglas Rodger) and Kafka’s doll, an opera for young audiences inspired by a legend surrounding Kafka. www.musicpicnic.com.
February 4 & 5 at 7 p.m. PST
February 6 at 4 p.m. PST
Performance in Mandarin with English Surtitles
I swallowed a moon made of iron
Created by Njo Kong Kie set to the poetry of 許立志 Xu Lizhi, a Music Picnic Production, with the assistance of Point View Art and Creative Links (Macau).
POET 許立志 XU LIZHI COMPOSER / DIRECTOR / PERFORMER / PRODUCER 楊光奇 NJO KONG KIE TRANSLATOR 關顯揚 DEREK KWAN SPACE AND LIGHTING DESIGNER / LIVE STREAM DIRECTOR 馮國基 FUNG KWOK KEE GABRIEL PHOTOGRAPHER / FILMMAKER 歐陽永鋒 AO IEONG WENG FONG VIDEO DESIGNER ( TEXT) 余志力 NICHOLAS YEE VOCAL COACH STACIE DUNLOP SOUND CONSULTANT RYAN MCNABB LIVE STREAM TECHNICIAN SEBASTIAN MARZIALI TECHNICAL DIRECTOR / LIVE STREAM TECHNICIAN 鄺華歡 ERIK KUONG WA FUN