Spellbinding Chen

Levin Chen

Devocean (Ying Yang Records, 2007)

Virtuoso Taiwanese-American guitarist Levin Chen has recorded a fascinating album that combines Chinese folk, rock, blues, classical music and contemporary instrumental music.

Chen has the rare ability of performing simultaneously on both the electric guitar and the ancient Chinese gu zheng (Chinese harp). His musical style interweaves the modern with tradition, creating superb cinematic music. On Devocean, world traveler  Chen is joined by a variety of instruments, which includes the delightful Chinese erhu, jazzy piano, drums, harmonica, flute, saxophone, vocals and orchestral arrangements.

"This recording took place on 3 continents, in 5 studios, with 6 engineers, and over 30 talented musicians," says Chen. "I think you will find it a very different experience than my other albums, more varied yet peacefully familiar."

The CD is a tribute to Chen’s father, who supported Chen’s career by lending him money to complete his recordings. "My father was a passionate lover of music, and he loved my music as well," adds Chen. "He tried not to feel that it was because I am his son, though no doubt he was partial too! My grandfather was well off and at 15 my father had the first phograph in his hometown of Taichung, Taiwan. He would daydream away to classical music, while most of his peers cared less, or liked pop music of the day."

Devocean includes a DVD with several music videos, including the mesmerizing and visually stunning "Sound and Recent Sorrow…"

The CD is available from CD Baby and iTunes.

Author: Angel Romero

Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music music for many years. He founded the websites worldmusiccentral.org and musicasdelmundo.com. Angel produced several TV specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for TelevisiĆ³n EspaƱola (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World.