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The Xi’An Sí

The name The Xi’An Sí ( pronounced ‘Shee Ann Shee’) is an amalgamation of both the Chinese and Irish languages. ‘Xi’An’ being the city where the group first established themselves, and ‘Sí’ being derived from that most fascinating of Irish traditions, the fairy.

The group will tour Ireland over the next two months with confirmed
dates so far in Mayo, at Féile Iorras on July 24th and then at
Dublin’s Northside Festival on August 2nd. The group features Li Kai
(Gu Zheng), Xu Zhen (Er Hu), Xu Ming (Di Zi) and Bei Bei (Pi Pa).
Raised within the Eastern tradition, it was not until Li Kai had
graduated from the prestigious Xi’An Conservatory of Music in 2004
that she encountered Irish music for the first time while teaching in
the Yellow River Conservatory in Henan province. Li Kai had a chance
encounter with an Irishman, David Keohane, in a music shop in
Zhengzhou city. She quickly agreed to teach David the music of the
ancient Gu Zheng in exchange for him introducing her to the
traditional music of Ireland. Instantly struck by the common beauty
shared by both musical styles, Li Kai soon discovered that the
colourful tones of Irish traditional music could find a welcoming
home within the distinctly Chinese timbres of her beloved Gu Zheng.

In 2007, she decided to record a full album of Irish music played
entirely on Chinese instruments. She returned to China in August with
her husband David who arranged 12 traditional Irish pieces consisting
of airs, hornpipes and jigs, for the Gu Zheng, Er Hu, Pi Pa and Di
Zi. After reuniting her previously untitled ensemble of friends, they
quickly christened themselves ‘The Xi’An Sí’ and recorded The Xi’An
Sessions during the winter months of 2007/2008. Tracks from this work
have already had some Irish air-time and you should be able to find
online archive recordings of The Magic Carpet on Lyric; Caoimhin Ó
Sé’s Beal Maidine on R na G; Gerry Godley’s Reels to Ragas on Lyric;
and Transmissions (Tom Sherlock) on Radio 1.

For availability, CD’s and summer booking enquiries, please contact
Artist Services Manager, Ronan Quinn at email:

Permalink - Posted: May 26, 2009 at 3:42 pm