Asian Cultures


Ancient Future


Sounds from the Musical Traditions of Asia


Bui Huu NhutZhao HuiManose SinghLiu Qi-Chao

Shown: Bui Huu Nhut (Vietnamese dan bao), Zhao Hui ( gu zheng), Manose Singh
(Nepali flutes), and Liu Qi-Chao (Chinese winds, strings, and percussion).

Asian Traditions

Ancient Future is blessed to include many Asian music masters, and this program puts the great musical traditions of Asia front and center. It showcases the beautiful tone colors of Asian instruments and the unique musical techniques and forms Asian music in traditional and contemporary arrangements.

Ancient Future has a vast repertoire of material based on Asian traditions to draw upon.

Ancient Future's sixth release, Asian Fusion, is a musical travelogue spanning the vast geographic and cultural expanse of Asia showcasing some of the top performers in the Asian music field, including Zhao Hui, China's preeminent master of the gu zheng (Chinese zither) and Bui Huu Nhut, a leading performer of the Vietnamese dan bau (a one-string Vietnamese instrument with an indigenous version of a whammy bar). Asian Fusion received much critical acclaim. It made the TOWER PULSE! Top 10 Best Contemporary Instrumental Releases of 1993 List (#4) and was Guitar Player magazine's "Pick" for April 1994. The Chicago Tribune wrote,"This compilation of 12 songs influenced by the Far East has all the sweeping impact of epic movies such as 'The Last Emperor.'"

Ancient Future's seventh release, Planet Passion, continues this theme and introduces Chinese wind virtuoso Liu Qi-Chao and Nepali flute master Manose Singh to the Ancient Future family.

Ancient Future is also featured on two Putumayo World Music samplers focusing on Asian traditions: Asian Lounge (PUT 244-2) and Music from the Tea Lands (PUT 180-2).

"Ethnomusicologists and musical explorers have long been fascinated by the sounds of Indonesian gamelan, Indian classical music, Japanese folk, and other intriguing styles of Asian music. Formed in the late 1970s, Ancient Future coined the term 'world fusion music' to describe its use of Indian, African, Balinese, and other musical traditions within a contemporary framework."Putumayo World Music, liner notes, Asian Lounge (PUT 244-2).

Venues: Festivals, Concert Series, Concert Halls, Clubs, Universities
Traditions: World Music, Asian Fusion, Chinese Classical, Indian Classical, Nepali Folk, Vietnamese Classical
Moods: Ecstatic, Euphoric, Ethereal, Exciting, Exotic, Festive, Mystical, Passionate, Powerful, Thrilling, Uplifting, Yearning
Hashtags: #AsianFusion, #ChineseClassical, #IndianClassical, #NepaliFolk, #VietnameseClassical, #WorldFusion


Chinese pipa virtuoso Shenshen ZhangShenshen Zhang, a native of Wenzhou, China, began playing the pipa at the age of nine. At thirteen, she auditioned and was accepted into the prestigious Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, where in 1992, she was awarded a Bachelor's Degree. In 2005, Ms Zhang received Master's Degree in Musicology from Xiamen University. As an award-​​winning concert soloist, she performed and toured extensively through-​​out Asia and the U.S. Since making her home in SF Bay Area in 2006, Ms. Zhang has combined her lengthy performance career and her vast experience as an educator, preserving the musical heritage of China while also exploring other world cultures.

Zhao Hui was born in 1962 in Beijing, China, into a family of famous classical Chinese musicians. She began her studies of the gu zheng (a Chinese zither that is the ancestor to the Japanese koto) at the age of six. In 1982 she won first place in China's National Classical Instrumentalist Contest. She graduated from the highest music conservatory in China in 1985. Since then she served as the top gu zheng soloist for Beijing's China Opera and Dance Drama House and was sent by the Chinese government to perform in Japan, Singapore, West Germany and Paris. As a recording artist for Beijing Television Productions, she has made solo gu zheng recordings, including many of her own compositions. Her video recordings are still shown daily on television in Beijing.

Liu Qi-Chao is a composer and master performer on several Chinese wind, string, and percussion instruments. He was born in Shandong China, and is one of the most innovative and most sought after Chinese artists living the the West. In his four decade career, Liu has distinguished himself as a scholar, virtuoso performer, composer, teacher, and band leader. Liu studied traditional Chinese and Western music at the prestigious Shanghai Conservatory. Afterward, he served as resident composer for the renowned Beijing Oriental Song and Dance Ensemble for five years, during which he also authored several books on Chinese music. Liu has worked with the Kronos Quartet, opened for the San Francisco Symphony and the Grateful Dead, and has performed for three PBS specials. Liu has amazed the ears of jazz audiences around the world through his collaboration with Chinese American jazz pianist/composer Jon Jang and the Pan Asian Arkestra and African Chinese Sextet featuring flautist James Newton. Chi Music is Liu Qi-Chao's moniker for compositions fusing ancient Chinese music and jazz.

Manose SinghManose Singh is widely recognized as Nepal's premiere flautist and is the recipient of national awards including instrumentalist of the year. Soon after moving to California, Manose became a member of Ancient Future and a featured performer on the band's seventh release, Planet Passion, which helped further introduce him to world audiences. Even while living in the United States, he still manages to be a vital part of the music scene back home. His debut music video airs regularly on Nepali TV, he is a member of one of the county's most popular pop bands, and he performed in Nepal's first jazz festival. In the United States, Manose has performed with Jai Uttal, Krishna Das, Deva Premal, blue grass great Peter Rowan, and the New Maihar Band, an ensemble created by living legend Ali Akbar Khan. In addition, he has performed in France, Switzerland, Germany, Hong Kong, and Malaysia.

Bui Huu Nhut (pronounced "buoy who newt") is a leading performer on the dan bau, an instrument of purely Vietnamese origin. Its single string is stretched over a long box, attached to a tuning peg at one end, and to a flexible rod (which holds a resonating gourd) at the other. Its sound is said to "find its way into the secret places of the soul." A native of Saigon, Mr. Bui has lived in the U.S. since 1989. He performs in traditional Vietnamese groups as well as world fusion projects.

Vishal Nagar is considered one of the most gifted tabla players of his generation. Vishal was born into a family of musicians and had his initial training with the late Ustad Latif Ahmed Khan of the Delhi Gharana and continued his training under the guidance of Ustad Shamim Ahmed Khan. He also has had intense rhythmic training from his mother, the renowned and highly respected Kathak dancer and vocalist, Urmila Nagar. Vishal has been praised in the Indian press for his unique combination of melodic tabla sound production with masterful command of rhythm. Vishal has had the privilege of performing with many renowned artists: Ustad Shujaat Khan, Guru Urmila Nagar, Vidhwan Trichur Ramachandran, Pandit Ramesh Misra, and Kala Ramnath, to name a few. Vishal has also expanded his cultural boundaries and collaborated with musicians from around the world. Some of his memorable works have been with the Ghanaian Guitarist Koo Nimo with whom he also appeared in WOMAD USA (a leading world dance and music festival started by Peter Gabriel).

Matthew MontfortMatthew Montfort is the leader of Ancient Future and pioneer of the scalloped fretboard guitar. He has studied with the top master musicians of many world music traditions including Ali Akbar Khan (sarod), Guruvayoor Dorai (mridangam), and K.R.T. Wasitodipuro (gamelan), and recorded with legendary world music figures ranging from Bolivian panpipe master Gonzalo Vargas to tabla master Zakir Hussain. He has released two solo CDs: Seven Serenades for Scalloped Fretboard Guitar and Sympathetic Serenade, for which he is recognized as one of the world's 100 Greatest Acoustic Guitarists by , a curated "best of" site. He has performed concerts worldwide, including at the Festival Internacional de la Guitarra in Spain and the Mumbai Festival in India. He has performed on national broadcasts including the Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC.

Video of First Meeting of Matthew Montfort and Shenshen Zhang

This video captures the very first time that Chinese pipa master Shenshen Zhang and scalloped fretboard guitar pioneer Matthew Montfort played together. They met on August 21, 2011, at an acoustic guitar concert set up by steel string guitarist Mike Kostowskyj with Matthew Montfort on scalloped fretboard guitar and Richard Patterson on classical guitar at The Wine Bar in Half Moon Bay. Mike invited Shenshen Zhang to perform a number by herself. Matthew invited her to jam with him, and this is exactly what happened from their first note together! The unedited video was recorded by Mariah Parker from the audience.

Featured Tracks

>YTmusic (Asian Cultures repertoire). Studio recordings of the repertoire played by this band variation of Ancient Future.

The Dusk Song of the Fisherman (Traditional. 5:59). iTunes. >YTmusic. Dating from the Ching dynasty (1644-1912), this piece describes the fishermen returning to the harbor at dusk, singing a happy song. FREE MP3 (excerpt) 647K. From Asian Fusion (Narada Equinox ND-63023) CD- $24.98 (out of print: collectable signed reconditioned copy): Add 1 to Cart. Buy 1 Now.

Bookenka (The Adventurer) (Doug McKeehan. 5:18). iTunes. >YTmusic. This contemporary jazz radio hit combines a Japanese mode with elements of jazz. From Asian Fusion (Narada Equinox ND-63023) CD- $24.98 (out of print: collectable signed reconditioned copy): Add 1 to Cart. Buy 1 Now.

Ja Nam (Matthew Montfort 3:53). iTunes. >YTmusic. "Ja Nam" is a reggae version of the Vietnamese folk standard "Ly Chim Quyen" (Song of the Nightingale). The song features the musician Bui Huu Nhut playing the dan bau, a unique instrument of Vietnamese origin in which a flexible rod attached to a resonating gourd is bent to change the pitch of a single string. Montfort describes it as the Vietnamese equivalent of an electric guitar's pitch-bending whammy bar.From Asian Fusion (Narada Equinox ND-63023) CD-$24.98: Add 1 to Cart. Buy 1 Now. Also available on Asian Lounge (PUT 244-2) CD-$16.98: Add 1 to Cart. Buy 1 Now.

Mezgoof (Ian Dogole. 6:20). iTunes. >YTmusic. Based on Qawwali, a Sufi devotional form of music popular in Pakistan and India. From Asian Fusion (Narada Equinox ND-63023) CD-$24.98: Add 1 to Cart. Buy 1 Now.

Ladakh (Doug McKeehan. 4:22). iTunes. >YTmusic. Drawn from the folk music tradition of Ladakh, a remote mountainous region of Western Tibet. From Asian Fusion (Narada Equinox ND-63023) CD-$24.98: Add 1 to Cart. Buy 1 Now.

Forest Frolic (Matthew Montfort. 4:29). iTunes. >YTmusic. A playful bamboo flute duet between Manose Singh on bansuri and Liu Qi-Chao on Chinese flute. From Planet Passion (Ancient-Future.Com AF-2001). CD/Gift Card, $17.98: Add 1 to Cart. Buy 1 Now.

Simsimay Panima (traditional, arr. Montfort. 6:05) iTunes. >YTmusic. Nepali folk song featuring Manose Singh on bansuri. From Planet Passion. (Ancient-Future.Com AF-2010). CD/Gift Card, $17.98: Add 1 to Cart. Buy 1 Now.

Ancient Future Recordings Featuring Asian Traditions

Related Programs

Asian Fusion: This program features Ancient Future's Asian music masters with a monster rhythm section, and was selected by Putumayo Records as the featured ensemble for the CD release party for Asian Lounge.

Asian Jazz: Ancient Future’s Asian jazz program features performers such as Liu Qi-Chao, who has amazed the ears of jazz audiences around the world through his collaborations with Chinese American jazz pianist/composer Jon Jang and flautist James Newton.

Chinese Classical: This duet program shows both the ancient classical music of China and contemporary compositions.

Contact Info

Tel: 415-459-1892.

Booking: Additional booking information, or use the contact information above.
Catalog: Listen to the CDs and use the secure online shopping cart system to purchase music.
Concerts: Current list of shows online.
Guest Book: Subscribe to the Ancient Future e-mail newsletter. Contests for prizes such as concert tickets each issue.