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Here's something to do on Valentine’s Day that won’t stretch your budget but might expand your mind: a free pi'pa performance at U of L’s Comstock Hall featuring visiting Chinese musician, Ming Ke.

The pi'pa (pronounced "pee-paa") is one of the oldest Chinese muisc-makers, dating back to 200 B.C.  The pear-shaped, lute-like instrument was popular during the Tang dynasty (roughly 600-900).  If anyone this side of the Pacific pond knows about the pi'pa, chances are, they they ate at a Chinese restaurant recently, or are avid fans of Incubus.  (Curious?  Grab your iPod and download "Aqueous Transmission").

University of Louisville Professor of Music History, Dr. Jean Christensen, says, "Ming Ke is a fine performer. As a young child during the Cultural Revolution she was chosen to be trained as an entertainer (dancing, singing, acrobatics, etc) and toured the collective farms and factories as part of a troupe.  Entertaining is in her blood, so to speak."

Ming Ke is also bringing two other instruments with her to Louisville, the Genzhung (the ancestor of the Japanese koto) and the Ruan (sometimes called the moon lute because of its circular shape).  Her concert, which starts at 7:30, will be a mix of classical repertoire and pieces adapted from the folk treasury.

Comstock Hall is located in the School of Music at 1465 S. 2nd St. (between Hill and Burnett).  For more information, call 634-3114.

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About Emily Ruppel

Writer/artist living in Old Louisville. Lover of: long runs around the city (training for Derby Marathon # 2!), old-fashioned gas lamps covered with snow, the words "porch" "button" and "calico," thunder, fireworks, and home-made popcorn.

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