Chang Jing

My Music Travel in the Blue Aegean

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Before I came to Greece, I already knew that it was a beautiful place with lots of ancient remains that would excite me. However, I had never realized that Greece was so beautiful and much beyond my expectation.


As a musician from China, I have been lucky enough to travel to many places for performances. Yet I had never been to Greece. Earlier last year, I received the invitation from Meet Culture for a music travel and exchange project in Greece which really intrigued me. “Travel with music”, how cool this idea sounds! Not long before the trip, I got the chance to listen to the music of an ancient Greek Lyre band Lyre ’n’ Rhapsody, and was amazed and impressed by their dreamlike music. As soon as I knew that I would have the chance to collaborate with them and also travel to a country I had been longing to visit, I said Yes without any hesitation to the young couple who are the co-founders of Meet Culture.

Music connects people and gives me new inspirations

Our schedule in Greece was very tight and hectic. In ten days, we had the collaboration and recording with the Greek musicians, besides which we also had the concerts in Athens and Santorini, where we improvised together with Ross Daly. Of course, more importantly we went together with Eley and Kevin to some wonderful places that left very deep impressions on us. Though my body sometimes felt exhausted, my heart was always full of joy and happiness. I wish I had had more time to stay.


Lovely little moments in Greece


We stayed at our friends’ place in Voula, a very attractive and cozy area in the southern suburbs. I still clearly remember the warm sunshine in the morning of the first day. We sat on the sunny and spacious balcony, enjoyed our lovely Greek breakfast, and then wandered around the local Laiki (open market) near the house, talked with the local people, smelt and tasted the local food. After that we took a casual walk along the amazing seafront. These little moments made a fantastic beginning to our journey in Greece and were really unforgettable. I so envy my friends living in this wonderful suburb, enjoying the sea, sunshine and fresh local produce every day.


Every day, it seemed, I made a fascinating new discovery; be it a scrumptious local dish, like steamed mussels or Greek salads;  a pair of beautiful handmade Greek sandals; a delicious street snack, like Greek yoghurt or classic souvlaki; quality performances by street artists or musicians; the creative graffiti or even just the smile of a handsome Greek guy…so many marvellous surprises! And all bound together by the magical power of music.


Music connects people and gives me new inspirations 


I was born with a feel for music and tend to get to know others through their music. Quite a few Chinese people know about Greek music, especially the traditional local music. My only previous collaboration with a Greek musician was with Yanni at the 2013 Chinese Spring Festival Gala. I have listened to his music since my university days and find it very refreshing. Meeting him is like feeling the breeze from the Mediterranean Sea: warm, hospitable and also calm within.


The same feeling applies to my collaboration with Lyre ’n’ Rhapsody and also the other talented Greek musicians. Their music is like a spring of clear water, limpid, dreamlike and aesthetic. I fell in love with their music on first hearing and working with them was like meeting of old friends. Besides our musical union, we also established a deep connection in our hearts, our feelings entwined during each performance. This exhilarating, captivating collaboration felt like it was always meant to be.


Moreover, in the concerts, I was deeply touched by the warmth and delicate sense of aesthetics among the Greek audience. I could feel the resonance with them through my music and was really moved by their hospitality.  They even came backstage afterwards to express their gratitude to me. I was really impressed with their imagination and  understanding of my music.


Greek music is like Greek culture, both rational and emotional. You can find very good structures in their music, yet it is still full of emotions. Greece has a long history and abundant culture heritage, which give rise to this sense of balance in their music that we could learn a lot from.


A magical place well binds history with eternal beauty


Greece, as the birthplace of western civilization, has always had  a special place in the hearts of the Chinese; maybe because of its mysterious mythology and ancient civilization, or maybe because of its crystal blue sky, fascinating and romantic beaches. As I said earlier, I was absolutely amazed and impressed by my everyday encounters. The magnificent Acropolis reminded me of the fine balance between ancient classical beauty and the power of western civilization, the lively atmosphere and history of Monastiraki and Plaka gave me a fresh view of city life, and the  solemn guard change in Syntagma Square was a unique experience .


Thanks to the sponsorship of Astra Suites, which provided a super hotel, and support from Trip2taste, who hosted a wine tasting in Boutari Winery, my stay in Santorini was short but unforgettable. The wine in Santorini was so unique and tasty that I still remember the special sweetness and aroma; not to mention the imposing view of the caldera of Santorini. Sitting on my balcony, listening to the music of Vangelis from my room, the eternal beauty of Santorini took my breath away.


I really wish I could have stayed for a longer time, to better experience the beauty of Greece. It lies in every detail and every moment. Last but not least, I need to express my special gratitude to my musical partner, Zhang Di, an excellent flautist, who made my musical journey in Greece even more fantastic.