The China Folk Art Overseas Tour was launched in Ireland, in UCD’s O’Reilly Hall, on May 22, 2015. Co-hosted by UCD Confucius Institute for Ireland, the China Folk Artists Association and Sun Emerald Ireland, the opening leg of this international tour attracted more than 1,000 overseas Chinese and Irish fans. Renowned folk performers including crosstalk artists Jiang Kun and Dai Zhicheng, children’s show host ‘Sister’ Ju Ping and soprano Yin Xiumei delivered a fascinating and highly entertaining audio-visual feast. In attendance were the Chinese Ambassador to Ireland, H.E. Xu Jianguo and his wife Ms Ni Jun; UCD President Professor Andrew Deeks and his wife Dr Linda Deeks; as well as members of the local Chinese community.
The gala was co-hosted by the eternally youthful ‘Sister’ Ju Ping, crosstalk master Dai Zhicheng and Li Xiaodong from UCD Confucius Institute. The show opened with Granny’s Visit to the Lantern Show, created by Wang Zhanxin, who is known as the No. 1 artist in the Great River Bend Hetao. He showcased the magic of the regional art form ‘er ren tai’; singer Yang Fei amazingly performed her vocal act while holding burning candles in her mouth, Ding Dang’s Sichuan comic show My Future isn’t a Dream was filled with local humour; and twin brothers Liu Quanli and Liu Quanhe charmed the audience with their interactive mime Bird and Bee.
Crosstalk duo Jiang Kun and Dai Zhicheng had the audience laughing out loud throughout their classic piece Joy and a piece about learning Cantonese. Soprano Yin Xiumei enchanted the audience with her classics Song of Chang Jiang, I Love You the Northern Snow and In the Field of Hope. The gala ended with a lovely rendition of See You in Twenty Years by Yin Xiumei and young tenor Wang Zenan.
The 100-minute show was filled with excitement and enchantment. Ambassador Xu and President Deeks were invited on to the stage for a lucky draw. They presented prizes to winning audience members, including a Confucius Institute T-shirt signed by all the gala artists and a Chinese calligraphy piece by crosstalk master Jiang Kun, titled Auspicious. ‘The gala was fantastic. I look forward to similar performances in the near future,’ said an Irish Chinese language-learner.
The first stop of their world tour was regarded by all as a complete success.