Films on China

Small Path Music (2011) documentary film on Yunnan and South-East Asia minority music, with Laurent Jeanneau, produced and directed by David A. Harris

small path music

WHAT DRIVES HIM TO THESE REMOTE PLACES ?
WHAT DOES HE FIND THERE ?
AND WHY SUCH A SENSE OF URGENCY ?
————-
SMALL PATH MUSIC – WITH LAURENT JEANNEAU
PRODUCED AND DIRECTED BY DAVID A. HARRIS
SMALLPATHPRODUCTIONS.COM
– A 56 MINUTE DOCUMENTARY FILMED IN LAOS AND YUNNAN, CHINA.
©2012 D. A. HARRIS TEL: (+64) 4 479 4235 EMAIL : CONTACT at SMALLPATHPRODUCTIONS dot COM
SYNOPSIS – SMALL PATH MUSIC
In the hills and plateaus of Southeast Asia Laurent Jeanneau has found music which speaks to him like
no other. Travelling to these hard-to-reach places, amongst people for whom the thread of tradition has
not been broken, in search of new discoveries became his passion. A passion which has become his
work and his life.
Small Path Music takes us travelling in the feld with
Laurent, exploring the lesser-travelled mountains of
Northern Laos and into the borderlands of Yunnan,
China. With his fercely independent spirit as his
compass we follow the hints and information
garnered from locals along the way. Experiencing the
practicalities of his work as we accompany him on his
quest to record “old-style” traditional music and
songs.
From shamanic rituals to love songs, historical epics
to lamentations, his microphones become our ears –
and through the window of his work we glimpse the
artists he records, their lives, and the world they live
in. Recorded in their natural setting we witness these
performances as part of the living, breathing cultural
life of the communities he visits.
Laurent recounts experiences of a decade recording in
Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and China and we gauge
his perspective on the musical traditions of this area.
We see how he relates to them and how his work has
led his life in new directions. Through his work he met his wife, Tanding and together they established a
recording label (Kink Gong) to release their feld recordings.
In an area with such ethnic and cultural diversity there is still plenty of recording work to be done.
However with the increasing interaction of these regions beyond the social horizons of old, Small Path
Music frames the changing situation in which Laurent fnds these arts today. And the urgency of this
work becomes apparent.
©2012 D. A. HARRIS TEL: (+64) 4 479 4235 EMAIL : CONTACT at SMALLPATHPRODUCTIONS dot COM
DIRECTOR’S STATEMENT – DAVID A. HARRIS OF SMALL PATH MUSIC
In 2009 I moved to Yunnan Province in the south of China. (Having lived in Beijing for nine years I was
ready for some fresh air and greenery.) I had visited Yunnan before and caught glimpses of the range
cultural life which exists in this geographically diverse region. I was keen to experience more.
While looking for a place to stay I met Laurent Jeanneau, a Frenchman living in Caicun, a little village on
the edge of Erhai lake, Dali prefecture. I followed a dirt path by a creek, then skirted some cornfelds to
his front door. He was looking to rent the lower level of his house so this worked out well.
I moved in and gradually I came to learn the nature of
Laurent’s work hearing the sounds emanating from his
studio most afternoons and through music recordings he
played me. My curiosity was piqued.
What struck me most was the single-minded nature of his
mission. And it really does seem like a mission that he’s
on; to record as much of the surviving music of the ethnic
regions as he can. I found his ferce independence
inspiring and I also believed in the value of this work. And
so I embarked on documenting it.
Laurent’s wealth of experience in the feld was also a huge
resource for me as I came to learn more about the cultural
life of the region. Documenting his work also provided a
new means for me to experience it. When an opportunity
arose to accompany him on feld trips to the borderlands
of Yunnan and into the lesser travelled reaches of Laos, I
jumped at it.
The recordings made on these trips are featured in Small
Path Music. I was by turns surprised, awed, enamoured
and fascinated by what we found… at times being taken
to a place very far away from anything I would call
familiar.
While flming Small Path Music I came into contact with
traditions which fulflled a valuable function in their
societies. Songs to celebrate, songs to lament, to console, to firt, to impart history, to talk to each other
and talk to nature. This contact has enriched my view of the world we live in.
I am drawn to the situations of cultures, once relatively isolated, now increasingly in touch with a much
wider world. So much is being left behind to make room for the new. There are so many new
opportunities also. What is necessary? And what are the possibilities?
©2012 D. A. HARRIS TEL: (+64) 4 479 4235 EMAIL : CONTACT at SMALLPATHPRODUCTIONS dot COM
DIRECTORS BIOGRAPHY – DAVID A. HARRIS OF SMALL PATH MUSIC
Since leaving New Zealand, his homeland, in 1999 David has
been based in China.
In late 2004 he set about producing his frst documentary, A Tour
of the Public Kingdom (with chinese post-punk band P.K.14).
Since then he has worked in video and flm on many different
scales and in many capacities. From crewing on feature flms
(The Kite Runner) to working camera for news features (NDTV)
and documentaries (Eurasia Landbridge), to editing and
mastering sound for feature documentaries (A Life in Shadows).
He has recently just returned from shooting a travel show in South America (一路尚南Yilushangnan).
Music has been a constant theme in David’s independently produced works including video’s for Beijing
bands P.K.14 (Tamen, Behind all Ruptures) and Carsick Cars (Mogu).
In 2011 David founded Small Path Productions, a banner under which he continues the work he started
with Small Path Music, using modern media technologies to propagate the traditional folk art-forms he
has begun to explore.
FEATURING LAURENT JEANNEAU AND KINK GONG RECORDINGS
Laurent grew up in Paris, France and from his early teenage
years his lone searches through the record archives of his
local libraries indicated his singular taste and passion for
musics far from “mainstream”. Once he began to travel
independently it was only a matter of time before his passion
for music found him recording the music and sounds of the
places he visited.
Kink Gong recordings was co-founded by Laurent Jeanneau in
2007 on which to release his substantial catalogue of feld
recordings and electronic compositions. The bulk of
recordings are from Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and China. His recordings of the gong playing traditions
of Ratanakiri, Cambodia are some of the only musical recordings of that area that exist. Laurent lives in
Dali, Yunnan and continues his work; recording the music of ethnic minorities of the nearby regions. A
selection of Kink Gong recordings are featured in Small Path Music.
CONTACT : KINKGONG at GMAIL dot COM
©2012 D. A. HARRIS TEL: (+64) 4 479 4235 EMAIL : CONTACT at SMALLPATHPRODUCTIONS dot COM
FEATURING PERFORMANCES BY
YANGXIAOSI (F) : WEDDING SONG – WA ETHNICITY, ONDING, YUNNAN, CHINA.
THENE (F) : TOT FLUTE – DRINKING TUNE – KHMU ETHNICITY, MOUNG KHAU, LAOS.
SISAMONG (F) : KHMU ETHNICITY, OUDOMXAI, LAOS.
KHAENE (M) : KHENE REED PIPE INST. – KHMU ETHNICITY, MOUNG KHUA, LAOS.
BOON LONG (M) : PEUN MEUG (TREM STYLE) – KHMU , MOUNG KHUA, LAOS.
LI KUAN (M) & LI FENG XIN (F): RESPONSIVE SINGING – LALUO ETHNICITY, WUQICUN, YUNNAN, CHINA.
GUO WEN BIAO (M) & MEI HUA (F) – LOVE SONG – LALUO ETHNICITY, WUQICUN, YUNNAN, CHINA.
AI FENG (F) : IMPROVISED DAI DIAO – DAI ETHNICITY, GENGMA, YUNNAN, CHINA.
WITH APPEARANCES AND THANKS TO
WUQICUN LALUO COMMUNITY (PERMISSION TO FILM DEITY CELEBRATION) – YUNNAN, CHINA
SOMXAI VILLAGE COMMUNITY (PERMISSION TO FILM SHAMANIC RITUAL) – OUTAI, PHONGSALI, LAOS.
SAY DEUAN – MONOTHAM GUESTHOUSE – FIXER FOR MUSICIANS, TRANSLATOR – MOUNG KHUA, LAOS
KHAMMAN XAVAVONG – TRANSLATOR – MOUNG KHUA, LAOS.
LE FAMILY – (PERMISSION TO RECORD DRINKING SONGS) – NA TAI VILLAGE, BOUN TAI, LAOS.
LAURENT’S FAMILY – SHI TANDING & JISANG
BAI ETHNICITY FUNERAL MANTRA SINGERS – CAICUN, DALI, YUNNAN, CHINA.
CULTURE SHOW PERFORMERS. – SHUANGJIANG, YUNNAN, CHINA.
ALSO FEATURING ADDITIONAL KINK GONG RECORDINGS
– BRAO FIVE GONG ORCHESTRA – KAVET ETHNIC GROUP (2005)
– ASONG – AKHA IN LAOS (2008)
– DOZHUI ASEU – HANI IN CHINA (2010)
FEATURING STILL PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY OF LAURENT JEANNEAU – RATANAKIRI, MONDOLKIRI (CAMBODIA)
– PREVIOUSLY RECORDED ARTISTS (WEARING HEADPHONES)
©2012 D. A. HARRIS TEL: (+64) 4 479 4235 EMAIL : CONTACT at SMALLPATHPRODUCTIONS dot COM
SCREENINGS : SMALL PATH MUSIC HAS NOT YET PREMIERED
FACT SHEET
Title : Small Path Music
Genre : documentary
Runtime : 56 min.
Language : English (with subtitles)
Subtitles : Chinese, French
Country of Production: China, Laos,
New Zealand.
Producer : David A. Harris
Small Path Productions
Copyright : David A. Harris 2012
Director, Photography, Sound : D. A. Harris Post-production : David A. Harris
(edit,sound mix,colour)
Music recordist : Laurent Jeanneau.
D. A. Harris
Production Completed : April 2012
Format : Standard defnition Aspect : 16:9 Sound : Stereo
Available Screening Formats : .mov, DVD all regions (PAL, NTSC), Digibeta (PAL)
CONTACT PERSON : DAVID HARRIS
EMAIL : CONTACT at SMALLPATHPRODUCTIONS dot COM
TEL : NEW ZEALAND : (+64) 221605370 / (+64) 4 4794235
CHINA : (+86) 13810532287 (CHINA)
WEBSITE : WWW.SMALLPATHPRODUCTIONS.COM
©2012 D. A. HARRIS TEL: (+64) 4 479 4235 EMAIL : CONTACT at SMALLPATHPRODUCTIONS dot COM