SIU2 naturally blend sounds of east and west

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 26 August, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 25 August, 2012, 8:21am

Sonic Travelogue

Hong Kong City Hall

Ng Cheuk-yin is a versatile musician. He not only composes and arranges music for Canto-pop singers such as Hacken Lee Hak-kan and Hins Cheung King-hin, but also performs in an a cappella group called The Gay Singers, and founded the band SIU2, where he plays the
sheng, an ancient Chinese reed instrument made of bamboo tubes.

This weekend the 34-year-old will be wearing his performer's hat to appear with SIU2 in their concert titled "Sonic Travelogue".

"The basic idea is to use music to bring the audience [from] around the world but we are not putting world music into our own, just impressions," says Ng, in an office crammed with instruments, from keyboards to erhus, recording equipment and stacks of sheet music.

"Living in such an internationally diverse community like Hong Kong, different kinds of music are already inside you … the music inside me is already mixed. I'm not mixing blue and yellow, I'm doing green."

Joining Ng on stage will be bass guitarist Siuming, drummer Lawrence Tsui and saxophone player Timothy Sun. SIU2, which began in 2008, is the "second generation" of the original band, SIU (an abbreviation for "sheng it up"), which Ng founded in 2003.

In the early experimental years, Ng adopted the
sheng instead of the keyboard in his compositions. Today, he insists "the music is totally different". The pun of SIU hints at the type of music the group plays - a sort of modern interpretation of an ancient Chinese instrument paired with classical and contemporary Western instruments.

However, Ng is reluctant to categorise the music as fusion. "I'm not trying to merge East and West," he says. "As a musician or an artist, our cultural background is a big influence. In Hong Kong, what is our culture? It is something naturally mixed. So, I didn't really put Chinese or Western music together."

Victoria Kung

Fri-Sept 1, 8.15pm, HK City Hall, 5 Edinburgh Place, Central, HK$150-HK$250 Urbtix. Inquiries: 2526 7800