Festival helps celebrate Chinese traditions

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Part of the Youth Orchestra performing Chinese Fusion music Pic © Stephen Rawlinson JMU Journalism

Chinese Culture was celebrated with vibrant music and dance as part of the Angel Field Creative Festival.

The Pagoda Chinese Youth Orchestra (PCYO), the first and largest of its kind in Europe, collaborated with Liverpool Hope University as part of the festival which highlights the tradition of culture within the city.

Saturday’s event at the Cornerstone in Liverpool’s Haigh Street included performances from the orchestra, as well as traditional dances and Tai Chi.

The PYCO has been together for 36 years and performs its music with an innovative approach to fusions with folk songs, reggae and ‘hip pop’.

They have collaborated with musicians including The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and have performed in front of the Queen in 2016 as well as across the globe.

Zi Lan Liao, the director of the group, has worked alongside Peter Gabriel and Nigel Kennedy, among others. She has been involved with the musicians since 1982, when her father started the orchestra, but took over the reins as director in 2013.

She told JMU Journalism: “Today is the 15th day of the Chinese New Year and in China it is called the Lantern Festival and it’s about everybody getting together.

YouTube: Stephen Rawlinson

“Normally people go out, hold the lanterns and they have different lanterns stories, a bit like Blackpool during their light display. When we were asked to do the Angel Field Festival I thought this would be a great occasion to celebrate.”

With an age range from 4-20, the orchestra helps young performers hone their craft with traditional Chinese instruments, including the Guzheng and allows many British-born Chinese people to discover their culture.

Mrs Liao told JMU Journalism about why so many children are involved with the orchestra. She said: “I think most of the time when parents send children over to us it is for the heritage, so they don’t forget where they come from.”

The celebration was also used to help raise funds for members of the Chinese community suffering from the coronavirus.

About Stephen Rawlinson, JMU Journalism