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Levi Chen

Levi Chen — composer, guitarist and founder from the trio Celtic Zen (with harpist Lisa Franco and cembalist Michael Masley) — is a first-generation Chinese-American who, though given birth to and raised in the Midwest, has lived in countries as diverse as Taiwan, France, Italy, and Switzerland. Chen talks five dialects. Chen had been a world traveller (his family been to grandparents in Taiwan) by enough time he began monitoring electric guitar at age group ten. In 1981, the rebellious teenage Chen was delivered to a boarding college in Switzerland for his junior season. This, he says, changed his lifestyle around and extended his horizons. Inspired, he came back to america to wait Hampshire University in Amherst, Massachusetts, where he examined graphic arts, structures, and music with musicologist Roland Wiggins. In 1984, Chen spent 11 a few months participating in the Syracuse School Overseas in Florence, Italy. Right here, he discovered to speak Italian and begun to play music being a minstrel in the Piazza Signoria. In 1987, Chen transferred to Boston, where he got employment at E.U. Wurlitzer Music & Pro Sound; this work afforded him the chance to connect to music students in the Berklee College of Music also to find out the technical part of music. In March of 1989, Chen came back to Taiwan for a number of weeks to pursue a imagine becoming the Chinese language Jimi Hendrix; it had been a disappointing check out, given the grade of the Asian pop picture. His following move had taken him south of France where he performed in a music group known as the Immigrants. In 1990, Chen transferred permanently to LA. He founded his very own label, Yin Yang Information, in 1993. His initial record in 1994 was Water Backyards: Tao for single acoustic and guitar. Water Backyards: Haiki Moon highlighted Chen on your guitar, fretless bass, Chapman stay, and gu zheng. 1995’s Deep breathing of My Spirit showcased Chen’s electric guitar/gu zheng duets. In 1997, Chen released Celtic Zen, also the name of the group which include harpist Lisa Franco and Michael Masley on cymbalom. Ten visitor musicians helped donate to the album’s exclusive sound — all acoustic aside from the Stratocaster electric guitar. Chen’s two primary instruments will be the Fender Stratocaster electric guitar (circa 1976) as well as the gu zheng, a Chinese language instrument like the Japanese koto, but having metal strings. Through many years of experimentation, Chen provides managed to imitate the gu zheng sound on your guitar and vice versa; through usage of postponed echoes, he can play both tools at once inside a call-and-response design. Chen may also create additional noises on his acoustic guitar: whales and dolphins, cello, erhu (Chinese language violin), and additional synthesizer noises. Chen can be skillful on Chapman stay, classical guitar, fretted and fretless bass, synthesizer, and piano. Along with his very long, flowing black locks, Chen resembles Kitaro to look at. Chen still performs extended hours as a road musician and considers music-making his type of meditation. Concerning his spiritual values, Chen feedback, “I really believe in Existence, truth, beauty, serenity, God, and nothing at all. I’m an enchanting Zen Taoist Rasta.”

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