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Press Release


Gongfu & Gongs, The Blang Spirit


In 2011, Olivier Schneider went to the heights of Lincang to study the little known culture of the Blang/Bulang, one of the first tea peoples who introduced tea to others in many mountains in Yunnan and other regions. He will bring back some rare teas, sketches, sound recordings and the testimony of a rich and mysterious culture that goes far beyond the field of tea...

How, thousands of years ago, was the tea tree discovered by the peoples of the Golden Triangle, and what drove them to domesticate this wild plant, remains a mystery. By a selection process spread over centuries, and by countless techniques of oxidation, fermentation, roasting and infusion, man has been constantly developing tea leaves putting into them an emotion: a specific vibration in which he finds himself at a particular moment. The processing of tea leaves, and then their infusion have thus always have a privileged place in many cultures of Asia. From the most tribal ritual performed in the shadow of Burma's forests, to the most refined ceremony of the Japanese elite, we find the same magic: by a succession of mastered gestures, the tree leaf will gradually become tea, a liquid with which we will let ourselves be permeated, impregnated and reconnected to its primary vibration.

This magic is found in sacred music, spiritual and shamanic practices, and essentially in any ritual. Like the tea leaf, the gong, this sacred instrument is widespread throughout Golden Triangle and has a distant and mysterious origin. The uniqueness of its vibration is the culmination of knowledge accumulated over the centuries, a mysterious alchemy balancing the material and the know-how of a blacksmith. Like a tea leaf waiting to be infused, the gong as an object is only an inert matter. It can truly manifest only when played. An astonishingly similar in its essence gesture that links the preparation of tea with a play of a gong, suddenly gives life to what was hidden in the material, infuses the space, penetrates every cell of the body and reverberates deep in the soul.

Kat Bumbul and Olivier Schneider have spent years exploring this art of vibrations in gongs and in tea leaves. They join their mastery for the first time to offer a unique performance at the crossroads of this resonance. Inspired by Blang rituals, freely reinterpreted through a sublime gong playing and the infusion of rare and precious teas, not available on the market, it is an experience beyond the senses, a motionless and magical two hour journey, where an immersive vibration of gongs meets the inner energy of tea.

Saturday 21st July, 7pm
A-side B-side Gallery, Hackney


Tickets: £30

The performance is part of the 6th tea fest ‘Meetings around puerh tea’, a set of events in Belgium, France and UK (London), this year focusing on green/raw puerh teas. For a complete and detailed program and description please follow the link: http://www.puerh.fr/evenement/6_emes_rencontres_autour_du_the_puerh_2018.htm

Next day 22nd July you are welcome to join another event in London, a full-day workshop to explore the subtleties of raw/green pu-erh: https://www.facebook.com/events/391734341331508/


Gallery opening hours: 10-5pm Friday–Tuesday

A-side B-side Gallery

352 Mare Street
London E8 1HR


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