THE LATEST: 05.25.2015
BLACK FOREST COMMUNITY CENTER
12530 Black Forest RD, Colorado Springs, CO (map)
Kailin Yong is a violinist/multi-instrumentalist/composer/educator and most of all, he is a global citizen and ambassador of peace who believes firmly in the power of music and love to affect profound and positive changes in the world.
Kailin was born in the thriving, multi-cultural, tropical metropolis of Singapore and grew up in a world where people of various creeds and cultures coexisted in harmony. It was in this almost utopic environment where he was handed the violin as a 6-year old and learned to play under the firm and benevolent tutelage of Kang Choon Sim, who he still regards as his most influential mentor.
At thirteen, he came into the national spotlight when he won the National Music Competition in 1985. Around that time, he was also offered several scholarships to study in the US and UK, but these were all categorically rejected by his parents, listing young age and lack of financial resources as deterrents. Amidst the initial triumphs and setbacks, the young violinist quietly made up his mind that he was going to dedicate his life to music against all odds.
Between 91 and 93, Kailin spent three beautiful summers touring with the Asian Youth Orchestra all over Europe and Asia, playing for thousands of people in some of the world’s most prestigious concert halls and venues. It was during that time that he became deeply inspired and aware of the unifying power of music. This realization further defined the direction of his musical journey: he was going to use music to promote good not evil.
One afternoon in 1993, a piece of mail arrived sandwiched between the usual stack of bills and advertisements; it was the admission letter to attend the National University Of Singapore’s School Of Engineering. Kailin knew that the time had finally come for him to draw his line in the sand. He marched resolutely to his parents, admission letter in hand. In one passionate and demonstrative gesture, he ripped the document in half, tossed it in the trash can and thereby declared his own freedom and the beginning of his musical journey.
Within a year of living in Boulder, Kailin started to unearth some unexpected multi-cultural gems in the fertile ground of this small liberal college town at the foot of the mighty Rocky Mountains. He was “like a little kid in a candy store” discovering (and being adopted by) sub-communities of people who are passionate about all kinds music and dance. From aerial and modern dance troupes to balkan and arabic music groups, from vintage jazz and ragtime orchestras to the argentine tango community and brazilian roda de choro, Kailin wanted to be part of it all. Kailin’s openness and versatility gained him many friends quickly and very soon, he was starting his own groups, each exploring a different style of music. Some of his projects included Boulder Acoustic Society (original and american roots), Beco Do Choro (diverse brazilian), Marrakech Express Trio (north african and arabic) and The Exuberant Quartet (vintage jazz) just to name a few.
Legendary jazz pianist and educator, Art Lande was one of the first to encourage Kailin to “do his own thing” when the latter came to him for “jazz lessons”. He also developed a great friendship with Fulbright fiddler-scholar, Ryan Drickey as the both of them embarked on a journey to explore the “infinite possibilities of the violin”.
In 2004, Kailin was awarded the Daniel Pearl Memorial Violin at the Mark O’Connor Strings Conference for his efforts to bridge cultural gaps and break down social barriers through music. And ever since, Kailin has been putting on concerts to support environmental, social and humanitarian causes, including an annual event to commemorate 9-11 and concerts to celebrate Daniel Pearl World Music Days. He also lent his musical talent in support of The Haiti Project, San Luis Valley Citizen Alliance in their fight against drilling and fracking, Rainforest Action Network (RAN) and Food From The Heart. A firm believer in promoting “global peace through spiritual peace”, he also started a Music Meditation series at the Boulder Public Library where he was the artist-in-residence in 2010 and brings this concept wherever he goes.
In 2008, Kailin started the Kailin Yong Peace Project as a vehicle to directly use his original music and words to promote cross-cultural understanding and world peace. This endeavor has taken on several incarnations, including a 12-piece orchestra, a 7-piece super group with some of the most brilliant and versatile musicians in Colorado and a leaner trio or quartet that effectively fuses Kailin’s chamber music background with his world music sensibility.
NuMundo is another perfect example of Kailin’s dedication to global harmony. In 2011, he invited close friends Elisa Garcia, Brett Bowen and Daniel Ondaro to start a band based on the concept of building a bridge across the Americas. The NuMundo sound draws equally from the latin american backgrounds of several of the members and their collective common ground in american roots music.
THE MUSIC: If world peace had a soundtrack…
Kailin’s music is made with love.
It is a colorful journal of his daily pilgrimage to bring more beauty, hope and healing to our broken world.
Some of his pieces are outright celebrations of our cultural diversity through his unique blend of sounds and rhythms from around the world. Others are intimate love letters in the form of miniature solo piano pieces written to reach out to specific people or commemorate certain milestone events in his life. Most of all, Kailin’s music has the ability to take you on a journey through cultures, time and space, evoking the vision of a “global village” and making us aware of the “sameness in our differences.”>
Kailin’s lyrics and words looks at life from both the vantage points of the clouds and the earth. They serve as mantras to help us be present in body, spirit and mind, as humanity’s collective plea for the end of greed and violence and as a wakeup call for us to stand up for our rights and our dreams, and to take charge of our own destiny.