Ed Sweeney & Yang Wei

Our introduction to one another was short and to the point: “Yang Wei, this is Ed. He plays banjo. Ed, this is Yang Wei. He plays pipa. You two should talk.”

It was 2006 in Chicago, and talk we did ­– that night throughout dinner and for hours the following day.

A few months later in Rhode Island, we picked up where we left off. This time, dinner was at my home, where we swapped stories and songs and discovered how much we enjoy one another’s music and musicianship.

The following spring we presented our first concert together, then headed into the recording studio to capture a few ideas that have since turned into the recording What Lies Ahead.

We tend to perform a potpourri of music.  That potpourri includes traditional music from China, United States, Russia, Ireland, hymns and Gregorian chant.

We try to get together as much as our schedules and geography allow. What lies ahead? We are not sure, but whatever it is, it will include friendship, music, and stories.

Booking or Additional Information
Ed Sweeney call/text (401) 497-4675  -  Email: sweeneymusic@gmail.com

or
Yang Wei call (630) 802-3890  -  Email: yangweipipa@gmail.com

 

Equal parts ear opener and door opener, the armchair traveler has a treat here that hasn't been his way in some time. Well done. ” - Chris Spector

Midwest Records

"Lao Liu Ban" 《老六板》 for banjo and pipa -- one of the best Chinese-American cross-cultural collaborations I've ever heard (originally uploaded to YouTube in 2012). This whole CD is highly recommended. Both players are at the top of their game, and their instruments blend really well together. ” - David Badagnini

— Director at Cleveland Chinese Music Ensemble

Until I experienced Yang Wei with the Folger Consort's "Harmony of Friends" concert, I had no real understanding of the pipa's virtuosity” - Karren LaLonde Alenier

— Scene4

Yang Wei - Short Bio

Yang Wei has been celebrated worldwide, performing for and inspiring audiences throughout Asia, Europe, and the United States. 

His musical education began at the age of 6, and by age 18 he performed as a soloist with the National Shanghai Orchestra. In 1989 Yang Wei received the ART Trophy First Prize for the International Chinese Musical Instruments Competition in the Young Professional Pipa Section. 

In 1996, he moved permanently to the United States, making his home in the Chicago area. 

In addition to performing as a soloist with orchestras around the world, he has toured with the acclaimed Silk Road Ensemble since 2000 performing alongside world-famous cellist Yo-Yo Ma. Also an educator, Yang Wei has been an Artist-in-Residence for the Art Institute of Chicago, received a Fellowship in Ethnic and Folk Arts from the Illinois Arts Council, and was a resident artist at the Humanity Institute of the University of Michigan. 

Yang Wei's artistic perspective honors the musical heritage of his homeland in China, but also combines the Western influences of his new home. He is committed to sharing his music with the community around him and continues to be interested in exploring the possibilities created by blending his eastern instrument with Western influences and themes. 

 

What Lies Ahead

Ed Sweeney & Yang Wei

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Midwest Records Review

An outgrowth of when Sweeney hooked up with members of the Silk Road Ensemble, this cross cultural mash up is serious but has none of the seriousness of too much world beat. But there's no disrespect in it's air either. Ya heard much Chinese Celtic lately? Equal parts ear opener and door opener, the armchair traveler has a treat here that hasn't been his way in some time. Well done. ” - Chris Spector

Midwest Records