Blending the music of China and Syria

Pipa player Gao Hong and oud player Issam Rafea will perform together Wednesday night at the Cedar Cultural Center in Minneapolis.

Hong, who is from China, teaches at Carleton College. That's where she met Rafea, who came to Carleton as an artist in residence from his home in Syria.

They've recorded an album of improvised duets called "Life As Is: The Blending of Ancient Souls from Syria and China."

During their concerts, they ask for titles from audience members and then create instantaneous site- and audience-specific pieces based on the suggested titles.

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