Guo Yue


World-renowned as a virtuoso bamboo flutes soloist, composer and arranger, "Music Food and Love" captures the vivid, sensual experiences of his life as a boy, growing up in the Beijing alleys before and during the Cultural Revolution. It is a musical memoir.
A journey towards freedom.

The hauntingly aching music on this CD charts an evocative journey from Guo Yue’s early years in The Hutongs of north-east Beijing, through the Cultural Revolution that exploded in 1966 when he was just eight years old, to his departure for London in 1982 and his vivid, bitter-sweet memories of his recent visits back to China. Guo Yue’s words in the detailed sleeve notes capture much about his gentle, open but determined personality. The sounds of dizi (bamboo flute), yang qin (Chinese dulcimer), sheng and erhu are showcased in either stark simplicity or set against the subtle arrangements of the strings of the Secret Sound Orchestra of Budapest. Guo Yue and his second sister Guo Xuan (who still resides in China) provide the beautiful voices.

“I have heard Guo Yue play his music, I have eaten his food, and can guarantee he delivers in a
magical way.” PETER GABRIEL

Guo Yue was born in Beijing in 1958.
His family lived in a traditional courtyard in the maze of old alleys known as the Hutongs, between the beautiful Drum and Bell Towers and the river where he played as a child. His courtyard housed the families of five traditional musicians, mostly from the countryside.

From these musicians who (unlike his father) had received no formal musical training, he learned how to put not just his breath but his whole body into playing the flute. Yue now plays 15 different bamboo flutes.

Not wanting to be confined to traditional Chinese music, since 1990 Yue has worked as a soloist, writing his own music. He has collaborated with musicians and composers from Africa, Italy and Japan.
In 1992 he made the album 'Trisan' (Real World) with Joji Hirota, the Japanese Taiko drummer, and the Irish singer/composer Pol Brennan; this won an American instrumental award. Then in 1995 Yue and Joji recorded the album 'Red Ribbon'.

Yue has also worked on the soundtracks of several international films, including Bertolluci's Oscar-winning 'The Last Emperor' and 'The Killing Fields'.

He also played the soundtrack theme, composed by George Fenton, for the Emmy award-winning Channel Four television documentary 'Beyond the Clouds' which was directed by Phil Agland who commented: 'In the magical hands of Guo Yue, the bawu flute creates sounds that haunt the soul'.

In 2006 his biography “Music, Food and Love” written with Clare Farrow and Real World cd of the same title came out.
The book is the story of his childood in Beijing during the cultural revolution, and the cd, produced by Richard Evans and partially recorded in China, provides sounds, remembrances and colors from Yue’s tale.
The book closes with a collection of recipes related to the period narrated (Guo Yue is a great cook too!)