Cbinese Meditations on American Landscapes

Zhang Ying


Innova 523


When I was very young in school in China, my teacher told me: "There is a great waterfall on the other side of the globe, it is called Niagara Falls..." Niagara, what an exotic name, what a remote place. I learned that name by heart.


Forty years later, destiny brought me to this side of the globe - America. I have traveled across this vast land. I have enjoyed many breathtaking landscapes - Niagara Falls, Badlands, the Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, Canyon DeChelly, Key West, Las Vegas...


The creator is a majestic artist. He has sculpted such distinct, perfect and unparalleled landscapes in each hemisphere.


The grand and awe-inspiring Niagara Falls, and the exquisite and multifaceted Huangguoshu Falls (China) foil one another's beauty yet each shines in its own way.


America's Badlands and China's Yellow Earth Plateau are almost like twins. Having experienced eons of vicissitudes, they both share their stories and beauty.


Humans are the same, despite their differences in skin color, language, custom, and so on. What binds mankind together is the voice of the heart - human nature, love, and music.


Music belongs to all mankind, I belong to music.


I hear sounds that come to me from beyond the horizon.


They build a bridge from east to west, from dreaming to waking.


This musicilows through my heart and into fhe ever-changingfuture.


Music belongs to all mankind, I belong to music.



Seagulls over Niagara Falls

Surging ahead

streams ten thousand strong

Weaving between rising mist,

seagulls brave and proud

Carrying clouds on their wings,

zigzag up and down,

Reaching for the realm above and beyond.


Dusk at the Badlands

Long suffering badlands

Soaked deep in tears

Awe-inspiring dusk

Engraved forever in memories

Tide of time passing Day by Day

Year by Year

Badlands, dusk

Badlands, dusk



Canyon Sketches - Ancient Ones 1

In Arizona, there are many breathtking canyons, including the Grand Canyon and Canyon de Chelly.  Thousands of years ago, several native peoples made these canyons their home.  The Following are sketches of the lives of these Ancient Ones.


Hunting at Dawn

Cut wood, make arrows,

Let horse hooves throw up dust,

Run after the beasts.



Cut wood, make a cradle,

Rock the Cradle

Sleep sweet dream.


Cooking Fires

Cut wood, burn it

Roast meat, enjoy it


Full of Life

The Florida Everglades


World of hot sun,

Everywhere birds calling

Full of life,

Lush and thriving



Las Vegas

One heart is set on money,

Two eyes are burning,

Three meals have no taste,

Four limbs lose all their strength,

Five trades are neglected,

Six relatives become strangers,

Seven outlets of the head are smoking

Eight sources are sought for loans,

Nine out of ten he’s trapped,

Ten disasters are awaiting.



Chinese Woodwinds used in this CD:


Gu Di Also called bone flute, because it was made from animal's bone. One hundred and sixty gu di flutes aged 7000 years old were discovered in Zhe Jiang province of China. The gu di used in "Hunting at Dawn" was made by composer Ying Zhang from a turkey bone.


Xun This is a pottery ocarina-like instrument, made from clay, stone or bone. A 7000-year-old pottery xun with one blowing hole was discovered in Zhe Jiang of China. The egg-shaped xun used in "Dusk at the Badlands" has ten holes. Xun has a mournful haunting sound.


BaWu This is the woodwind instrument popular in southwestern China used by Yi and Hani minorities. Ba wu is made of bamboo. Its beautiful soft tone is produced by a vibrating reed.


Hu Lu Si

This instrument is used by Dai minority in China. It is a three prong

flute with drone.


Mouth Harp This instrument is popular in southwest, northwest and northeast of China. It has 2 to 6 reeds, and is similar to the European mouth harp.



The traditional di is made of bamboo, has finger holes, blowing hole and

a membrane hole. The most widely used di variation are •'bangdi"

with clear, sonorous sound, and "chudi" with mellow, transparent sound.



Xiao is a wind instrument without a reed. It is blown straight from

the end. It has a soft and mellow sound.



ZhangYing has spent a lifetime in the traditional and ancient music circles of China - performing on traditional woodwinds, composing, and studying the music and instruments of China's minority peoples. Winner of the 1993 Wen Hua Prize, China's highest national art award, Zhang has performed extensively throughout China, and in Russia, Poland, Romania, France, Belgium, Switzerland, and the US. A student of flute master Liu Guan-Yue and Feng Zi-Cun from the age of 12, Zhang now plays eleven different Chinese woodwinds, including the xun, hulusi, and bawu. Zhang studied with renowned Chinese composer Luo Zhong-Rong. He went on to compose over 300 works, earning the title of First Class Composer, and an entry in the Register of Great Musicians in 1988. Now residing in the US, in Minneapolis, he continues to perform and compose for audiences that vary from those at Walker Art Center to the Minnesota State Fair. Zhang has received a 1995 McKnight Composer's Fellowship from the American Composers Forum and a 1997 Bush Grant for his work.