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Arts, Sports & Culture

Musicians Find Common Ground In Folksy Blend Of Appalachian And Asian Influences

Musicians Jeff Berman, Mimi Jong and Sue Powers blend the sounds of Appalachia and traditional Chinese folk music to create their group AppalAsia.

AppalAsia is one of those artistic ventures which, seemingly, could only happen in Pittsburgh. The musical blend of Appalachian and ancient Chinese folk music stems from three artists with very different musical backgrounds. 

Mimi Jong plays the erhu, a two-stringed, bowed instrument that has been a part of Chinese folk music for a millennium.

Jeff Berman began his musical career as a rock-and-roll drummer with an interest in jazz. After college, his musical curiosity took him to the folk scene in Greenwich Village where new musical horizons awaited. In AppalAsia, he plays the dulcimer and vibraphone.

Banjo player and singer Sue Powers grew up with traditional American music and has been part of Pittsburgh’s folk music community for decades. Together, they found a melodic, cross-cultural sound both grounded in tradition and bent toward the future.