Damon Albarn is writing the music for a Chinese circus production.
The work is due to get its debut at the inaugural Manchester International Festival next June.
The Blur/Gorillaz singer recently returned from several weeks spent travelling across China, where he recorded with a variety of local musicians. He is now back in London working on the tapes and turning the raw material into a score.
The production, called ‘Monkey: Journey to the West’, is based on the traditional Chinese story ‘The Monkey King’ and the stage set is being designed by Albarn‘s Gorillaz colleague, Jamie Hewlett.
After the show’s Manchester debut, it will be staged in Paris and Berlin. The show, directed by Chinese theatre director Chen Shi-Zheng, will also feature Shaolin monks and singers from the Peking Opera.
Albarn is on a deadline to finish the score before the end of the year, but will interrupt work on the project to make his live debut with his new and untitled band at London‘s Roundhouse on October 26.
The band -as previously reported on NME.COM – includes ex-Clash bassist Paul Simonon, African drumming legend Tony Allen and former Verve keyboard player Simon Tong. The group’s debut album, ‘The Good, The Bad and The Queen’, will be released in the New Year.