CONTACT: WINSTON BARCLAY
300 Plaza Centre One
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0073; fax (319) 384-0024
Release: Nov. 22, 2002
(NOTE TO PRINT AND WEB EDITORS: Images are available for download at http://www.uiowa.edu/hancher/media.html
VOICE OF THE DRAGON COMBINES MARTIAL ARTS WITH ADVENTUROUS
Martial-arts spectacle meets Chinese-jazz fusion music in Voice of
the Dragon at 8 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, Dec. 10 and 11, in the University
of Iowa Hancher Auditorium.
Voice of the Dragon is the brainchild of Fred Ho -- hand-to-hand
stealth-combat specialist, saxophonist, composer and leader of the adventurous
Afro Asian Music Ensemble.
Former Iowa City Council member Karen Kubby will moderate How Political
Values Shape Artistic Work: A Discussion with Fred Ho, a free event
at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 9, at Riverside Theatre, 213 N. Gilbert, co-sponsored
by Hancher, Riverside Theatre and FAIR!
Voice of the Dragon has been called, a pioneering, groundbreaking,
revolutionary multicultural work in a never before-seen explosive combination
and fusion of dance and movement forms with pyrotechnical Chinese martial
Through music, theater and virtuoso martial arts, Voice of the Dragon
tells the story of Gar Man Jang, a young girl raised at the Shaolin Temple,
the birthplace of Kung Fu.
She becomes a traitor to the Shaolin monks, and while sacking the temple
in the service of the Manchu emperor she discovers the Shaolin Secret Scrolls,
the accumulated knowledge of all martial arts. In absorbing the scrolls
deadly power, she becomes invincible, but the price of invincibility is the
terrifying transgender metamorphosis of Gar Man Jang from a human woman to
a man of supernatural destructive force.
Five Shaolin monks manage to escape the destruction of the temple, and they
embark upon a 20-year adventure in which they innovate new forms of martial
arts and create new schools based on these forms. After many years, they reunite
in a hidden marsh fortress to plot a mighty insurrection against the empire
and take revenge upon their deadly traitor in a climactic battle.
This dramatic and supernatural tale of loyalty and betrayal is performed
to what Jennifer Dunning of the New York Times called, one of the best
dance scores to be heard in these parts in recent times, performed by
Ho and his Afro Asian Ensemble.
Larry Birnbaum wrote in downbeat magazine, Fred Hos style is
a genre onto itself, a pioneering fusion of free-jazz and traditional Chinese
music that manages to combine truculence and delicacy with such natural ease
that it sounds positively organic, and Neil Tesser states, Ho
is a musical and sociological descendant of Charles Mingus; his compositions
have a slashing energy.
Robert Hambretch wrote for EAR magazine, Fred Ho and the Afro Asian
Ensemble offer live jazz as it hasnt been seen in 30 years while introducing
Asian touches that define another side of this talented and many faceted group.
The range of musical directions Ho and company use and their smoothness, sincerity
and undisputed talent make them a live event that should not be missed.
Founded in the summer of 1982, the band took its name from the Afro-Asian
Unity Conference held in 1955: Representatives of newly independent countries
und national-liberation movements from Asia and Africa sought an independent
political path for their countries. This historic gathering included Pan-Africanist
Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, Indias Nehru, Chou En-lai of China, Julius Nyerere
of Tanzania and others prominent leaders.
Ho identified with the struggles for self-determination, self-reliance and
social transformation of national-liberation struggles in the Third World
and thus took this name for his ensemble. The Afro Asian Music Ensemble subsequently
produced the first jazz recordings in history that used Chinese vocals and
extended compositions for western and Chinese instruments with jazz.
Among Hos many honors and grants have been a National Endowment for
the Arts Music Composition Fellowship, the Duke Ellington Distinguished Artist
Lifetime Achievement Award from the Black Musicians Conference, several ASCAP
Composers Awards and involvement in the Meet the Composer program for the
last two decades.
Kay Bernau is the sponsor of the Voice of the Dragon performances,
with media support from the Iowa City Press-Citizen.
Tickets for Voice of the Dragon are $35, $33 and $30 ($28 and
$10 for UI students; $28, $26.40 and $24 for senior citizens; and half price
for those 17 and younger).
Hancher Auditorium box office business hours are 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. weekdays
and 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturdays. From the local calling area, dial (319) 335-1160.
Long distance is toll-free, 1-800-HANCHER. Fax to (319) 353-2284. People with
special needs for access, seating and auxiliary services should dial (319)
335-1158, which is equipped with TDD for people with hearing impairment who
use that technology.
Tickets may be ordered on-line 24 hours a day, seven days a week through
Hanchers website:< http://www.uiowa.edu/hancher
Orders may be charged to VISA, MasterCard or American Express. UI students
may charge their purchases to their university bills, and UI faculty and staff
may select the option of payroll deduction. Information and brochures may
be requested by e-mail: <email@example.com>.
For UI arts information, visit www.uiowa.edu/artsiowa
on the World Wide Web. To receive UI arts news by e-mail, contact <firstname.lastname@example.org>.