WU TONG, Rain falling from the roof
Wu Tong is a Chinese composer and performer (primarily on the Chinese bawu and sheng) who became a founder member of the Silk Road Ensemble, led by cellist Yo-Yo Ma, and has appeared as a virtuoso soloist with orchestras including the Chicago Symphony and New York Philharmonic. An extremely versatile musician, he was also the vocalist in the first rock band to broadcast on Chinese television.
Rain Falling on the Roof is a kind of song without words with flexible instrumentation. It has been played by Wu Tong himself on the sheng, and recorded by Yo-Ya Ma and Kathryn Stott in a version for cello and piano. Wu Tong himself has written that his inspiration was a very contemporary response, during the Coronavirus pandemic, to an ancient Buddhist story: ‘Upon hearing the sound of the falling raindrops, I was reminded that people depend upon peaceful coexistence with each other and with Mother Nature to live in true harmony. No one exists in isolation.’
© Nigel Simeone