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Chinese Canadian Folk Music

Listen to Chinese Canadian Folk Music

Discover Chinese Music and Chinese Canadian Folk Music 2024

Suona Chinese Canadian Folk Music

Chinese music transcends mere notes and rhythms, serving as the heartbeat of history and the soul of cultural stories. The melodies of ancestors convey comments from the past, with each rhythm weaving into the tapestry of a cultural legacy.


This rich tradition is embodied by Zhongxi Wu, a member of the Vancouver Chinese Music Ensemble and a master of the suona (Chinese oboe) and sheng (Chinese mouth organ). His life’s work is to bring joy through his performances and pass along the enduring power of family and music. He is the fourth generation of Chinese pipers, and has dedicated himself to preserving and growing our musical heritage. His love for music is shared by his son who also plays in an orchestra, continuing the family legacy.

Chinese instruments have significantly influenced the development and evolution of music, adapting to contemporary styles while preserving their rich heritage. Zhongxi Wu has reimagined the traditional sheng by adding more pipes to align better with Western musical scales, enabling the performance of folk and jazz music on this ancient Chinese instrument. 

The Journey to Chinese Canadian Folk Music

​The journey of Chinese Canadian folk music is a poignant testament to the power of cultural preservation and the spirit of innovation.


Imagine having melodies passed down through generations, from grandparents who sang of loved ones and local conflicts, to immigrant parents who carried these tunes across oceans, embedding their stories into experiences in new lands. These tunes were then embraced by future generations of children, weaving their Canadian experiences into the ancient music. There is a bittersweet beauty in this journey—the loss of memories and languages, yet in this, there is a birth of new traditions and stories.


Fortunately in today's age, we can record and preserve these old melodies, blending them with Canadian influences to create something entirely unique, a Chinese Candian kind of folk music.


The Vancouver Chinese Music Ensemble encourages this spirit of growth and change, incorporating traditional values and musical techniques into a way to remember what was. They envision a genre that honors its roots while embracing what is new, utilizing ancient  instruments and contemporary styles to expand the boundaries of folk and Chinese music.

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The Role of Chinese Instruments in Preserving Culture

Erhu Chinese Canadian Folk Music

Traditional Chinese instruments like the erhu (two-string violin), guzheng (Chinese zither, related to the piano), and Suona ( Chinese oboe) are not just musical tools; they are vessels of our cultural history.

Each instrument carries centuries of tradition and stories that have been pivotal in teaching new generations about their heritage. These instruments express personal family narratives and historical events, creating a living connection to our past.


Through meticulous practice and the dedication of the Vancouver Chinese Music Ensemble's musicians, the legacy of these instruments continues. Innovators like Zhongxi Wu adapt them for modern times, ensuring that our cultural heritage evolves while maintaining its essence.

From Traditional Chinese Music to Chinese Canadian Folk Music

Going Back Chinese Canadian Folk Music Album

The transformation from traditional Chinese music to Chinese Canadian folk music mirrors the complex identities and experiences of Chinese immigrants in Canada. Initially, traditional music served as a means of preserving cultural identity in a new land. Over time, as Chinese immigrants and their descendants adapted to being Canadian, our music evolved, blending heritage with new influences.

Artists like Ginalina exemplify this transition. Her 2024 Juno award-winning album, Going Back: Remembered and Remixed Family Folk Songs, Vol. 1, merges traditional Chinese melodies with contemporary Canadian folk music.

The collaboration with the Vancouver Chinese Music Ensemble illustrates how Chinese Canadian folk music honors its roots while embracing new influences, creating a unique genre that celebrates both the old and the new.

The Future of Chinese Canadian Folk Music

As Chinese Canadian folk music continues to develop, it promises to explore innovative fusions of traditional and modern sounds. The Vancouver Chinese Music Ensemble's belief in growth and change underscores this progression. By incorporating traditional values and techniques with new instruments and styles, the ensemble is paving the way for future musicians. Check out our Jazz album Jasmine Jazz which was nominated as the Break Out West 2023 Instrumental Album of the Year.

The evolving sound of Chinese Canadian folk music will likely include a richer variety of instruments and influences, creating a vibrant and continually adapting genre that honors its heritage while embracing the possibilities of the future.

 Jirong Huang – erhu

 Zhong Xi Wu – suona

Sarah Yusha Tan – guzheng 

Sijia Huang – keyboard

Bruce Henczel – marimba & percussion  

Ginalina – guitar ukulele vocals 

Chinese Canadian Folk Music Ginalina
Vancouver Chinese Music Ensemble Ginalina
Chinese Canadian Folk Music Ginalina

Listen to Live Chinese Canadian Folk Music

Chinese Canadian Folk Music Vancouver Chinese Music Ensemble

Sunday, June 2 at 2 pm 

Dr Sun Yat-Sen Chinese Classical Garden
578 Carrall Street, Vancouver 
Entrance is located at Carrall and Keefer in front of the red gate

Venue Map link      Parking

Join us for an unforgettable afternoon of Chinese Canadian folk music performed by the renowned Vancouver Chinese Music Ensemble and award-winning Canadian folk singer Ginalina. This concert offers a unique remix of beloved traditional Chinese and Taiwanese melodies in new arrangements, offering a fresh take on timeless songs.

Ginalina brings her playful style to the stage singing with ukelele and guitar. She will be playing a set from her celebrated 2024 Juno-winning album "Going Back: Remembered and Remixed Family Folk Songs, Vol. 1,"

These songs captivated audiences with the evocative sounds of remembered pieces like "Jasmine Flower," "Diu Diu Deng," and "Gong Xi," all reinterpreted with a West Coast twist and beautifully complemented by traditional Chinese instruments, Erhu (violin), suona (oboe) and Guzheng (zither).

The concert will be performed at the beautiful Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden and brought to you by the Vancouver Chinese Instrumental Music Society. Perfect for families and music lovers of all generations, this concert celebrates the rich heritage of Chinese music while infusing it with the vibrant energy of Canadian folk traditions.

Don't miss this special show that promises to delight and entertain with the unique sounds of Chinese Canadian folk music.

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