Liu Suola

b. 1955, Beijing
Musician, writer
Born into a family of high-rank Communist officials, Liu Suola (or Sola) received a good art education and got access to Western modernism at early age. A composer by training, she graduated from the Central Conservatory of Music in 1983 and wrote music for film, theatre and television. However, she made her nationwide fame with the novella You Have No Choice (Ni biewu xuanze, 1985), which won the Chinese National Novella Award and presaged, together with Xu Xing’s ‘Variations Without a Theme’ (Wu zhuti bianzou), a ‘new wave’ of modernist literature. Liu’s publications in the mid 1980s, including ‘In Search of the King of Singers’ (Xunzhao gewang) and Blue Sky, Green Sea (Lantian lühai), were avant-garde in their anti-social, anti-tradition consciousness, reflecting the idealism and frustrations of rebellious urban youth in post-Cultural Revolution China.
Liu left China in 1988 and has developed her artistic life overseas, mainly in London and New York. After a short break from writing, she published Chaos and All That (Hundun jia ligeleng, 1994), Stories in Daji’s family (Daji jia de xiaogushi, 2000), and the bestseller Liu Suola on the Move (Xingzou de Liu Suola, 2001). Her music work was transformed into a kind of ‘world music’ as she sought to combine Chinese opera, folk, blues, jazz and African-American storytelling.
Her first album released in USA, Blues in the East (1994), remained for many weeks in the top ten of the New World Music chart. China Collage (1996), Haunts (1998), and Spring Snowfall (2000) were also acclaimed. She has set up her own recording company, Also Productions, and has been working on the New Folk Project to bring Chinese musicians together with musicians from other countries.
Liu, Suola (1994). Chaos and All That. Trans. Richard King. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press.
(2001). Xingzou de Liu Suola [Liu Suola on the Move] Beijing: Kunlun chubanshe (with CD).
LILY XIAO HONG LEE WITH YING BAO

Encyclopedia of contemporary Chinese culture. . 2011.

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