Fred Ho: The Way Of Shaolin
Once upon a time in Chinese America…

Composers: Fred Ho, Ruth Margraff
Performers: Afro Asian Music Ensemble, Shyaporn Theerakulstit

Combining music, theater and fantastic Chinese martial arts, Voice of the Dragon is a heroic 17th Century martial arts legend of the betrayal of the legendary Shaolin Temple by a renegade monk. It is composer Fred Ho’s newest action-adventure music/theater/ballet epic, commissioned by the World Music Institute, The Mary Flagler Cary Trust, The New York State Council on the Arts, David Rodriguez and the John Harms Center for the Arts, Mary Sharp Cronson and Works and Process at The Guggenheim, and Tina Chen. Featuring a narrator/actor performing text written by Fred Ho and Ruth Margraff with music performed by Ho’s sextet, The Afro Asian Music Ensemble, ONCE… is a pioneering, groundbreaking, revolutionary multicultural work in a never before-seen explosive combination and fusion of dance and movement forms with pyrotechnical Chinese martial arts.

Fred Ho has created an exciting and sophisticated body of performance works that will mesmerize, entertain and educate the youngest of children as well as the most jaded of adult contemporary performance audiences. Ho has reworked and re-visioned the martial arts legend to serve as a radical allegory about the betrayal of late-20th century activism in the Asian American Movement by the role of sell-outs internal to that movement. The intrigue of Chinese politics, the intense drama of Chinese opera, the grandness of Chinese heroic literature, the virtuosic power of Chinese martial arts are used to illustrate themes of betrayal and bravery, subterfuge and survival, lust for power and loyalty to principle, of determination in the face of destruction and defeat, and of integrity versus invincibility.


“There is no attempt to copy traditional Chinese music; some passages will recall Zappa in their convoluted lines and rolling marimba. The drums turn free, the saxes roam where they will – a full-scale revolution, staged for dancers. This is adventuresome, visual music and the 17th Century never seemed so modern.” – John Barrett


This 70-minute, narrated jazz tale with choreographed martial arts was, like ‘Peter and the Wolf,’ imaginative and engaging and most notable for its score….a lot of fun…gives the musical equivalent of ‘Pow!’ – Pamela Squires


One of the best dance scores to be heard in these parts in recent times….brash yet densely textured and full of witty musical asides. It required—and repaid—close listening. – Jennifer Dunning


Crackling music and boisterous narration…hilarious…This is adventuresome, visual music…and the 17th Century never seemed so modern.” – John Barrett


Stunning, kinetic, and beautiful…bold, poignant and provocative, it creates a dialogue that goes beyond and confronts. There are no easy answers. What we are asked to do is to think. – John Pai


[Ho] manages to evoke both the exotic pomp of imperial Beijing and the rippling cool of a Soho nightclub. – Neil Tesser


An incredible visionary piece of work…stunning, explosive, acrobatic jazz-ballet…extraordinarily talented cast and the musical genius of Ho’s Afro Asian Music Ensemble…the story has a very powerful historical message. – Cathy Neiman


Voice of the Dragon

Title : Voice of the Dragon
Release Date : October 25, 2001
Label :
Catalog ref. : #550
Format : CD