On January 6, Chinese state broadcaster CGTN released a Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics-themed musical relay and video featuring talented artists from China and abroad.
The track is called “Embrace,” a title determined by an online poll, and features Chinese artists Asr and Mico Liu Wei, as well as Iceland’s Doctor Victor and Carlo Facchini of Italy.
Watch the video below:
Dubbed “Music Voyage” by CGTN, each collaborating artist had one week to produce a minute-long piece reflecting both individual style and the topic of winter sports, with a focus on the motto for Beijing 2022: ‘Together for a Shared Future.’
The track begins with Asr, an ethnic Mongolian from Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region in North China.
Asr combines the matouqin, a traditional Mongolian instrument also known as the horsehead fiddle, with a keyboard and the sound of footsteps in the snow, resulting in a dreamy, ethereal sound.
Sweeping shots of the frozen region then give way to crashing waves and cityscapes more than 2,000 kilometers away in Fuzhou, the capital of Fujian province on the southeastern coast of China. The relay continues with electronic music producer and drummer Miko Liu Wei.
He combines tradition and modernity in his section with an electronic beat based on China’s pentatonic scale.
Last month, Liu told CGTN he listened to Asr’s section repeatedly while deciding how to approach his composition. He wanted to evoke the colors white and orange in his piece: the former as the dominant winter color, the latter because it “represents dynamic change and energy.”
He also tried to minimize his personal style to emphasize musical harmony with the other artists, choosing an electronic approach for its multi-layered sound and ability to transcend barriers.
Next up was Doctor Victor from the Icelandic capital of Reykjavik. He is a DJ and producer and — honest to God — a full-time medical doctor.
Victor told CGTN that he drew inspiration from his favorite winter sport, snowboarding, and the formidable natural scenery of his home country to produce his section of the song.
He was also inspired by the Chinese elements in the first two sections, Victor said to CGTN. He tried to combine them with Icelandic influences in his piece, focusing on the snow and cold weather of his surroundings. The result is a groovy beat with a heavy Nordic electronic influence.
Wrapping up the collab is veteran Italian singer-songwriter Carlo Facchini, who also composed the music for the 2019 Chinese documentary Beyond Borders — A Monk’s Incredible Adventures.
Energetic and uplifting, the finale reflects the spirit of sportsmanship and ambition. The camera shows Facchini on the bass guitar and a partner on the six-string, with picturesque scenes from Verona, Italy, throughout.
Following the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, the 2026 Winter Olympics are set to occur in Milan, Italy (and Cortina d’Ampezzo), adding an extra layer of symbolism to the final passing of the metaphorical baton.
The entire video is dotted with footage of China’s Olympic athletes in competition, gorgeous scenes from each artist’s home region, and shots of the collaborators experimenting with their respective instruments.
Admittedly, when we heard about this project, we expected something cheesy and feel-good (we’re looking at you, Jackson Yee). But the resulting product, from the cinematic video to the seamless blending of artistic styles, is genuinely epic and well worth five minutes of your time.
All images via YouTube
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