Gong Linna was born 1975 in Guiyang, Guizhou province (located in the Southwest of China). She first appeared on stage at the age of five. Since her early childhood she knew that she wanted to become a professional singer.
At 16 she began her studies at the Chinese Conservatory of Music where she held her first and highly acclaimed concert as soloist in 1999. Since that she has been a soloist with the Zhongyang Minzu Yuetuan, China’s most renowned traditional music orchestra. In addition to many other awards, she won the Chinese National Singing Competition in 2000 as best female singer, including the Special Audience Award, gaining the audience votes of over a million Chinese television viewers.
In 2001 Linna’s first solo-album “Kongque fei lai” was published, presenting recordings from the previous 5 years. One year later she met composer and producer Lao Luo, who had already established himself as one of the masterminds of New Chinese Art Music, and collaborating with him she started a new artistic life.
Experiments with world music fusion and avant-garde music as well as ethnomusicological field work marked the next years. In 2003 Linna contributed to the album of Wu Xing, published on CRC. On this album Linna gave her debut as songwriter with beautiful lyrics.
Her next album “Zou Shengming de Lu”, published 2005 by KUKU-Music, finally set a landmark in Chinese Art Music. Since 2006 Gong Linna is performing with a chamber music ensemble formed by some of China’s best instrumentalists and has been performing on many international festivals and prestigious concert halls.
Besides her work on new creations with her unique mix of traditional singing techniques and modern sounds, Gong Linna devoted lot of her time to do research on Chinese classical music and folk songs.
Linna managed to convince not only scholars but also people from diverse regions she was singing folk songs from. Her album “Zou Xikou” (in Europe published as “Chinese Folk Songs”) is a milestone and has sustainable influenced the Chinese singing (-teaching) scene. Following this her project with performance and recordings of qin-songs formed the next shock-wave in the Chinese art-music and singing scene.
Still and quite in contrast to her impact on Chinese culture Gong Linna continues to be a “secret star”. The Chinese music scene does not give her much chances for performance, as ambitious art-music does yet hardly have a stage in China.
One of Gong Linna’s projects is the recording of art-songs written by Song dynasty poet-composer Jiang Kui and by 20th century composer Luo Zhongrong.
Kongque fei lai (2001)
Wu Xing (2003)
Zou Shengming de Lu (Walking the path of life) (Kuku Music kuku-51, 2005)
Jing Ye Si (Kuku Music kuku-61, 2006)
Zou Xikou – Chinese Folk Songs (ARC Music EUCD 2129, 2008)
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 Televisión Española (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.