Gary Lucas plays "The Goddess"

"'The Goddess' is one of the most affecting films of the Chinese Golden Age, and Gary Lucas' guitar score casts a beautiful resonant spell around the movie, evoking depths to not only its narrative themes, but telling a story of its own about love and loss and the gorgeous yearning melodies of the Chinese popular music of its era."
—New York Times film critic Glenn Kenny's review of Gary's performance 7/18/16 at visionary artist's space Pioneer Works in Red Hook Brooklyn

Rave review for Gary's performance with "The Goddess" at Pioneer Works in Red Hook Brooklyn on 7/8/16 by Cineaste Magazine editor Richard Porton:
"The Brooklyn premiere of Gary Lucas' live score for THE GODDESS, a classic 1930's Chinese silent melodrama directed by Wu Yonggang and starring Ruan Lingyu, was a memorable event at Pioneer Works in Red Hook on Fri. July 8th. Lucas' score, which intersperses motifs from well-loved 30's and 40's Chinese pop songs with original themes, made a haunting film even more haunting. Lucas' guitar wizardry never amounts to virtuosity for its own sake. His score only enhances our appreciation of this melancholy tale of a 'fallen woman's' fate."
—Richard Porton, editor of Cineaste Magazine

Gary Lucas played 2 successful shows accompanying "The Goddess" at Symphony Space in NYC 10/09/14 and at Mass MOCA 10/11/14. Click here to read a nice review of the Symphony Space performance from the New York City Jazz Record!

On Jan. 8th 2014, Gary Lucas performed the world premiere of his new live solo guitar score for the 1934 Chinese silent classic "The Goddess" at Fundacion Botin in Santander Spain—part of the "Golden Age of Chinese Cinema" series curated by Film Society of Lincoln Center Director Emeritus Richard Pena.

The film, directed by Wu Yonggang and starring the incomparable Shanghai diva Ruan Lingyu, was hugely popular all over China upon its release in 1934, and is considered a touchstone of Chinese cinema. It contains many modernist flourishes including the plot, considered quite racy and bold for its time, concerning a young single mother forced into prostitution in Shanghai—the "Paris of the East"—in order to raise money for the education of her son. Lucas's score draws upon his extensive knowledge of 30's Shanghai pop—much of it created for Chinese movie musicals of the day—as featured on his celebrated album "The Edge of Heaven".

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From Richard Peña, Director Emeritus of the New York Film Festival & Professor of Film Studies at Columbia University:

Gary Lucas has created a marvelous score for the great Chinese silent classic The Goddess that not only creates the perfect period ambience for the film but even more crucially adds a rich emotional texture to this tragic tale of a woman's struggle for justice.

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Nice review from writer Richard Gehr of Gary's performance at Symphony Space with "The Goddess" 10/9/14:

Gary Lucas simultaneously contextualizes and updates director Wu Yonggang's 1934 silent jewel by blending contemporary Shanghai film music with emotionally resonant solo blues guitar. With Lucas's marvelously improvised performance, "The Goddess" gets the score she so richly deserves.

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Recent Spanish press about Gary's appearance in Santander with the world premiere of his new score for "The Goddess":

Check out a clip from "The Goddess" with Gary's score on the soundtrack


US premiere of Gary's live score for "The Goddess" at Symphony Space NYC 10/9/14
photo by Caroline Conejero


Homage to "The Goddess" at Mass MOCA 10/11/14
photo by David Schnirman

 


Performing with "The Goddess" (1934, d. Wu Yonggang and starring Ruan Lingyu) at Pioneer Works Red Hook 7/8/16


With Feifei Yang performing songs of Chow Hsuan and Bai Gwong after "The Goddess" at Pioneer Works 7/8/16


With Feifei Yang performing our mini-concert of 30's Chinese pop after "The Goddess" 7/8/16


Introducing "The Goddess" at Pioneer Works in Red Hook 7/8/16


Gary performs the world premiere of his new score at Fundacion Botin, Santander Spain 1/8/14


Gary performs the world premiere of his new score at Fundacion Botin, Santander Spain 1/8/14


Gary with his friend Richard Peña after performing the world premiere of his new live solo guitar score for "The Goddess" (1934, d. Wu Yonggang and starring Ruan Lingyu) at Fundacion Botin in Santander Spain 1/8/14


Gary, Fundacion Botin's Eva Fernandez, and curator Richard Peña after Gary's world premiere of "The Goddess", Santander Spain 1/8/14


On Broadway after performing the US premiere of Gary's live solo guitar score for "The Goddess" at Symphony Space NYC 10/9/14