Wang Li was born in Shandong, China. He lived with his grandparents in a residential complex of the people’s army as a child. In this strict military environment, there was no time for music. After graduating from university in 2001, he decided to head for Paris and not follow the path his parents had laid out for him. He found his musical calling and worked hard, becoming a virtuoso of the jaw harp and various flutes, notably the calabash flute, another ancient instrument of the Chinese tradition, as well as an inspired composer.
The Chinese Jew’s Harp (Kouxian or Kou-Huang) is named “Huang” (reed) in historical China. At one time it was very popular, but after the 14th century the “Huang” disappeared from the cultural center of China. Only the minorities in the remote areas continued to play the instrument, but they kept the tradition alive and now Wang Li performs his own compositions on the jaw harp. He creates an amazing variety of sounds out of an instrument with limited range. His songs are impressive and work into a beautiful trance. I’m sure his performance at globalFEST 2012 will surprise people with the dynamic sound emitting from his jaw harp and other instruments. Below is a great video of Wang Li performing in Amsterdam in 2006.