The New York Times

January 9, 2012

A Night When All the World’s Onstage


The world was fused at Globalfest on Sunday night. The sold-out event at Webster Hall was the ninthannual world-music showcase, timed to coincide with the Association of Performing Arts Presenters’ annual convention: 12 acts from 5 continents.

" Wang Li, a Chinese musician based in Paris, performed solo, finding a futuristic sound in humble instruments. He played jew’s-harps, twangy little instruments that were closely miked and enriched by reverb so that every touch and resonance was audible in detail. His pieces were fascinating, introspective perpetual-motion meditations. The rhythms of sharply pinging, clicking notes sometimes suggested electronic dance music; ghostly overtone melodies sighed up above. It was deeply solitary music, quietly spellbinding. "



The village voice

Live: globalFest Takes Webster Hall On A Too Quick Trip Around The World

By K. Leander Williams Mon., Jan. 9 2012 at 4:00 PM

" In hindsight, Chinese multi-instrumentalist Wang Li probably presented one of the biggest challenges on the globalFest program: How to program quiescent music for crowds that quite often show up ready to jump around. To his credit, Li didn't seem fazed. A one-man virtuoso armed with his springy jaw harp and an indigenous reed instrument called a sheng, he came on like a minimalist who understood how to make his instrument sound evocatively electro without trafficking in overt dance beats. It was subtle music that was both meditative and dynamic, perhaps even moreso for being programmed in the room where several of globalFest's more heated dance bands held sway. "



Natinal Public Radio

"This was the most sacred of sounds I heard (at the festival). It's very electronic in its sound. He's playing a Jew's Harp, through some effects, but that implies lots of delay and other stuff. But what you hear here is the pure sound of a Jew's Harp and (Wang Li's) breathing technique and his mouth opening and closing, through maybe a little bit of reverb."  --Bob Boilen

Ryan Muir for NPR

" Perhaps the most intriguing and unusual artist on this year's globalFEST lineup was Wang Li. Originally from Tsinghao, a northeastern Chinese city along the Yellow Sea, Wang Li plays two instruments that have definite folk roots: the jaw harp (or Jew's harp, as it's also known) and the Chinese sheng, a mouth-blown set of pipes. After college, he wound up — of all places — in a French monastery, but that transplanting makes sense in the context of his hypnotic, quiet music. Played solo, it evokes hidden and deep worlds of meaning.
Wang Li offered some of the most transporting music of the night — as my colleague Bob Boilen said, he'd be an amazing partner for any number of adventurous electronic and dubstep artists" --Anastasia Tsioulcas