Mu­si­cian pens 150 ‘ love sto­ries’ in trib­ute of the city

China Daily (Canada) - - SHANGHAI - By CAO CHEN in Shang­hai [email protected]­nadaily.com.cn

Guangzhou-born Luo Wei has over the past few years penned more than 100 “love let­ters” to his adopted city of Shang­hai where he has set roots.

But none of th­ese let­ters are writ­ten in a lan­guage the com­mon man would un­der­stand — they are all pi­ano com­po­si­tions.

The 29-year-old wrote his first pi­ano piece, ti­tled Novem­ber 26, Grey Shang­hai, on a rainy day when he was feel­ing down.

The ex­pe­ri­ence, he re­called, helped al­le­vi­ate the stress he was bogged down by. He has since never looked back.

Luo, a trained pi­anist who works as a mu­sic com­poser for cul­tural projects, tele­vi­sion shows, films and stage plays, has since 2013 cre­ated 230 pi­ano com­po­si­tions in his spare time, out of which 150 were in­spired by ev­ery­day scenes in Shang­hai.

“I just love strolling or tak­ing a bi­cy­cle ride through the streets in search of in­ter­est­ing de­tails, such as the singing ci­cadas in the trees in sum­mer, or the rustling of fallen leaves in au­tumn. All th­ese serve as in­spi­ra­tion for my pi­ano com­po­si­tions,” he said.

One of his fa­vorite “love let­ters” to Shang­hai is Noc­turne for Yan’an Road, which was in­spired by a taxi ride.

“I al­ways pass by Yan’an El­e­vated Road when on the way home from Shang­hai Hongqiao In­ter­na­tional Air­port af­ter my trav­els or busi­ness trips,” he said.

“Fre­quent trips to other cities make me home­sick. But when­ever I’m in a taxi on this over­pass, I know I’m head­ing home and it makes me re­laxed.”

One of the things he usu­ally draws in­spi­ra­tion from are sunsets. Watch­ing the sun­set on dif­fer­ent oc­ca­sions — once in the Rus­sian town of Irkuzk, once af­ter a heavy rain in Shang­hai, and once from a cliff in Bali, In­done­sia — has spurred him to cre­ate pieces that re­flect his feel­ings at those mo­ments in time.

“Peo­ple will find out that Shang­hai, as well as the world, is lovely to live in through my mu­sic,” he said.

Many lis­ten­ers seem to agree with this sen­ti­ment. Af­ter all, his cre­ations have been played about 300 mil­lion times on on­line au­dio shar­ing plat­forms and apps in China.

Luo has re­ceived nu­mer­ous fan mails be­cause of his pi­ano com­po­si­tions, too. A lis­tener who used to suf­fer from se­vere de­pres­sion once sent Luo a mes­sage in 2016 say­ing that he had lis­tened to each of the mu­si­cian’s pi­ano com­po­si­tions at least five times.

“I still pre­serve a screen­shot of that mes­sage from him that says: ‘Your mu­sic is the sun­shine in my life. It’s so beau­ti­ful and warm’,” said Luo.

He also got mes­sages from lis­ten­ers ex­press­ing their de­sire to visit the Heng­shan Ho­tel in Shang­hai or walk along Guilin Road, both of which are de­scribed in his com­po­si­tions.

Born to par­ents who are both mu­si­cally-in­clined — his fa­ther taught mu­sic con­duct­ing while his mother was a vi­o­lin teacher at the Xing­hai Con­ser­va­tory of Mu­sic in Guangzhou — Luo started learn­ing the pi­ano when he was five years old.

He later en­rolled in the pres­ti­gious Shang­hai Con­ser­va­tory of Mu­sic.

“My mu­si­cal jour­ney started as early as when I was in my mother’s womb. My par­ents were still com­pos­ing mu­sic then,” he said.

“My par­ents were strict. They did not be­lieve in short­cuts. When I wasn’t at­tend­ing classes in school, I would be spend­ing most of my leisure time prac­tic­ing.”

One of his most well-known com­po­si­tions was in­spired by a sight­see­ing cruise along the Huangpu River. Ti­tled Walk­ing on the Bund, this piece re­ceived such over­whelm­ing re­sponse that it was des­ig­nated the of­fi­cial theme song for the wa­ter­front stretch that runs along the western bank of the Huangpu River in cen­tral Shang­hai. Luo took just three hours to cre­ate this com­po­si­tion.

In light of this song’s success, Luo is now plan­ning to com­pose themed pieces for 12 of the 34 his­tor­i­cal build­ings and struc­tures along the Bund that are listed as na­tional-level her­itages.

The mu­si­cian will also kick off his first na­tional tour next year. But in­stead of per­form­ing in con­cert halls, Luo said that he hopes to hold his show­cases in more ca­sual set­tings such as art gal­leries and even the Great Wall in Bei­jing where peo­ple can gather around the pi­ano.

“My mu­sic used to be a pri­vate utopia for my­self where I broaden my mind and fo­cus on the beauty of the world,” he said.

“Now, I want to bring this utopia to ev­ery lis­tener out there.”

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