HAMILTON, Canada—Shen Yun Performing Arts was a musical adventure for bass-clarinet-turned bass-player Russ Gike.
“It’s quite good, very, very good. I’m enjoying the music, I’m enjoying all the dancing. I love all the colours of everything. That’s really impressive. I’m also impressed with how they blend with between the film and on the stage.”
He said he was taken with how Shen Yun’s dancers interacted with the state-of-the-art digital projections on the company’s animated backdrop.
“Yeah, when they’re moving either from the backdrop onto the stage, or onto the stage into the backdrop, it’s really impressive. It’s impressive,” he said.
Mr. Gike is known by many as “The Funky Bass Man,” a long-time musician playing R&B, classic rock, and jazz in various bands.
He said he especially enjoyed the dance When Shaolin Monks Protected The Emperor, a legend that sheds light on the curious meat-eating ways of Shaolin monks, unique among Buddist monks who have seen meat as off-limits for centuries.
“I really like that one. I really like that one too with the man-eating ogre.”
That latter is a dance based on a story from the beloved Chinese classic Journey to the West.
“I thought it was interesting and I just liked the way it all worked together between the dancing and the visuals. The interaction between the people, I thought that was quite interesting.”
He also enjoyed Shen Yun’s unique philharmonic orchestra, which includes Chinese instruments leading the melodies.
“It’s great, live music is always good. I’m a musician so I love live music.”
Mr. Gike plays bass guitar in a rock band now but grew up playing bass clarinet and used to be in a concert band. He appreciated Shen Yun’s innovative combination of instruments.
“I think it’s very effective what they are doing, very effective. I think they are working very well together. … They’re playing very well and I like the composition.”
He said Shen Yun’s bel canto vocal soloists had very good voices. The singers are also unique in that they sing Chinese lyrics in the bel canto operatic style.
Reporting by Lisa Ou and Matthew Little.
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has three touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. Shen Yun’s New York Company performed three shows in Hamilton Jan. 12-13 and is now heading to Toronto for five shows Jan. 17-20, completing its tour of eastern Canada. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org
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