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About Gong Linna

With her distinctive and highly expressive vocal style, Chinese singer Gong Linna became widely known for both her efforts in preserving traditional Chinese song forms and in furthering the development of New Chinese Art Music. A native of Guiyang City in the Guizhou Province, she studied at the China Conservatory of Music in Beijing, becoming well-versed in folk songs, classical, and opera, making her concert debut as a soloist in 1999. In 2002, Linna met German composer and future husband Robert Zollitsch -- known in China as Lao Luo -- and together they formed an artistic partnership that explored various facets of world music fusion, avant-garde, and the field study of traditional ethno-musicological songs. In addition to her work with Luo, she began to compose her own lyrics, which were often set to traditional music. Through a number of acclaimed recordings and performances, Linna's reputation grew, though it was a 2010 video performance of her song "Tan Te" that brought her widespread popularity. A virtuosic vehicle for her vocal talents, the quick-paced, whimsical, wordless song combines many of the standard voices from Chinese opera as well as vocal mimicry of Chinese instruments and was captured on a television performance that went viral throughout China. Linna has also collaborated with Portuguese fado musician António Chainho and respected New York classical-jazz-rock fusion collective Bang on a Can All-Stars, with whom she released the 2017 album Cloud River Mountain. ~ Timothy Monger

Guiyang, Guizhou
Aug 1, 1975