25 Years of Friendship: Croatia and China – Silk Road Festival

Total Croatia News

All images: Copyright Dave Gasson

TCN’s Dave Gasson gives us a closer look at how China and Croatia celebrated 25 years of friendship in Pula.

As part of a number of events to mark the 25 years of friendship between China and Croatia, a musical event, The Silk Road Festival, was held on Friday night in spectacular style at the magnificent Pula amphitheatre. Some of China’s best and most revered musicians took part along with Croatian cellist Ana Rucner.

This was the first Chinese performance under the wings of the Silk Road Festival to be held in the world and Croatia was its first destination.

The 31 year old Chinese Pianist Muye Wu, also known as the “golden finger” of European Piano opened the festival with an impeccable performance. His hands danced effortlessly across the ivories combining his own traditional Chinese music and classical music in his own unique and authentic way.

Muye Wu has been performing to audiences from a very young age and he won his first competition in Hong Hong aged just five. In recent years, he has toured Europe and America with the China National Symphony Orchestra. After a superb classical solo performance, he was joined by the beautiful and enigmatic Croatian Cellist Ana Rucner for a duet before Ana performed a spectacular and rousing solo.

Zhihui Li is one of the most famous Chinese New Age musicians. Accompanied by eight other musicians, they offered a very unique, cultural and spiritual set of sound. There was a delicate integration of Eastern temperament using traditional stringed and woodwind instruments into the light and warm electric elements of the West.

The Chinese zither, played by Shen Yue, offered a rare and unique sound and gave the perfect harmonic complement. Chen Jie played the violin and later, the harmonica.

Guo Zhonghe played the saxophone and a 4,000 year old flute, both of which enhanced the melodic sounds. As well as a guitar and two drummers, there was also the angelic voice of Nan Ni.


HAYA is one of China’s most unique musical groups. Formed in 2006, the multi award winning collective band combine traditional Mongolian culture, with crossover folk and world music. Their music is mystical, magical and inspiring.

Their album, Silent Skies, is the best selling soul/world music album of all time in Taiwan. They mix traditional instruments from their musical heritage of Mongolia, with innovative new music.

The name “HAYA” means “margin” in Mongolian and indicates a sub-culture and non-mainstream identity. As the band were introduced to the audience, there was a pause, as it seemed that the drummer was missing. The stage went dark and there was just one spotlight in front of the stage. The missing drummer appeared, motionless and singing, before walking into the crowd and greeting them.

The drummer then resumed his more natural position, and, with the rest of the band, continued playing their incredible brand of music.

The next surprise came when the lead vocalist, Daichin Tana ,came to the front of the stage and sat down. She then announced that she was with child and sang a very soft, delicate and moving tribute to her unborn child.

All the performers were re introduced to the crowd at the end of the concert and they took their much deserved bows and applause.

Both of the Croatian organisers were funded by China, which in itself is unique and very rare to find in Croatia. In a final gesture of good will, and to continue the theme of friendship and business between the two countries, the very large red Chinese drum, used during the concert, was donated to the organisers Meritum komunikacije and Art Hill for their outstanding effort in the organisation of this spectacular event. There was one final drum roll and another successful deal was done.


The music continues and next it is festival time with Grace Jones opening the the Dimensions Festival on the 30th of August, 2017 and Dizzee Rascal will be opening the Outlook Festival on the 6th of September, 2017. Still to look forward to in Zagreb later in the year are Bryan Adams on the 9th of November and Beth Hart on the 10th of November at the Boogaloo club, click here for more info!


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