1/  Festivals                                  (Sola)                        10.33
  2/  Love                                       (Sola)                        5.52
  3/  Death                                      (Sola)                        8.48
  4/  Life Journeys                              (Sola)                        8.51
  5/  War                                        (Sola)                        6.52

          Recorded at Greenpoint Studio, Brooklyn, New York, April 1995
          Recorded and mixed by Jean Pierre Sluys and Robert Musso
          Produced by Bill Laswell
          Executive Producers: John Zorn/Disk Union
          Associate Producer: Kazunori Sugiyama
          Mastered by Allan Tucker at Foothill Digital, NUC
Liu Sola: voice; Wu Man: pipa.

Pipa Music Consultant & Improvisation by Wu Man

          1996 - Avant (Japan), AVAN 046 (CD)


Though far too unusual for casual world music fans, this collaboration between eclectic Chinese vocalist Liu Sola and Wu Man, a master of the Chinese lute (or pipa), is definitely an intriguing listen for those unafraid of more avant-garde musical fusions. As the plucked pipa melodies set the musical mood with styles that range from the traditional to the contemporary, Sola's voice goes from piercing howl to soulful moan to gentle croon, never losing an ounce of its power in the process. The opening "Festivals" is far from easy listening, with a caterwauling vocal style that could send Yoko Ono running for cover, but "Love" is a gorgeous ballad whose mood perfectly matches its title. Though not quite as impressive as some of the duo's later collaborations, China Collage is an innovative introduction to two of the most distinctive talents in modern Chinese music.

3 stars out of 5

Bret Love (courtesy of the All Music Guide website)