Forty-Eight Years Ago, the Road an Ocean

(Cover and Motivation)

Cover and Motivation

Yingmei Duan has been making performance art for many years, her artwork involves and incorporates people from different cultures and parts of society. Improvisational singing, sound, language and collaboration with different musicians are often part of her live performances and performance installations. Yingmei has always wished to combine performance art with more pure singing in order to attract a wider audience. She believes this is also a way for more people to learn about performance art. Making this album is like a dream come true for her, as well as an extension of her performance art.

In 2016, Yingmei joined the residency project “Strolling Along the Discernible Min Jiang” in Chengdu, she met sound artists Yanzeng Li and Xiaoguo Xu there. Influenced by these two artists, they listened to a lot of interesting music together. It reminded Yingmei of her life in the 90s, when she was listening to American Rock ‘n’ Roll, music from the 60s and 70s also by using her improvisational singing she featured on several songs on Zuoxiao Zuzhou’s albums. The same year, at the Shenyang Performance Music Festival, Yingmei met Chinese contemporary composer Xiaohan Han and after a great deal of communication it occurred to Yingmei that she could ask him to help with her album. In 2017, they began working on this album.

The lyrics mostly come from Yingmei Duan’s performance artworks. Xiaohan’s inspiration for the music comes primarily from the descriptions of Yingmei’s works. On this basis he combined her improvisational singing, documentation materials from Yingmei’s live performances, and her personal experiences as a performance artist. These diverse points provided the structure from which Xiaohan composed the album.

As Yingmei hasn’t received any professional musical training, plus she was born with a speech impediment, some problems arose while recording, but luckily the project was successfully completed under Xiaohan’s encouragement and help. Yingmei was so spurred on by the whole album-making process that she decided to continue creating art that combines music and sound.