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February 12, 2012

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Don't worry, Bobby McFerrin is coming

MCFERRIN says he wants to cooperate with a Chinese musician for the concert. But there's a catch. He doesn't want to rehearse or even meet the person before the show, according to Zuo Yun, a staff member at Shanghai Concert Hall, where the concert will be staged on February 29.

"He didn't even say whether he wants to perform with a musician or a vocalist," Zuo says.

"He just insisted that he prefers a specialist in traditional Chinese music. I think he wants to bring Western and Eastern culture to the stage."

Well known for improvising during his concerts, McFerrin is best known for his 1988 catchy hit "Don't Worry, Be Happy." It was the first a cappella song to reach number one on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart, a position it held for two weeks.

The 61-year-old says there are basically no boundaries in music, which is why he enjoys switching between genres such as jazz, pop and classical.

"It is as simple as walking from one room to another in music," the 10-time Grammy winner says, adding that he feels vocals are better than any instrument for touching the soul.

Aside from "Don't Worry, Be Happy," the audience can expect him to sing other hits like "Gounod/Ave Maria," "Another Night in Tunisia" and "From Me to You." Another highlight of his career is his 1990 album "Medicine Music." He formed a 10-person "voicestra" to create the album.

McFerrin is known for his trademark octave-jumping style. His rhythmic inhalations and stop-on-a-dime shifts from falsetto to deep bass notes often sounds like two or three singers.

Born into a classical music family in New York City, McFerrin started his music education at the age of six.

He has cooperated with numerous musicians over the decades including pianists Chick Corea and Herbie Hancock, drummer Tony Williams, as well as cellist Yo-yo Ma.

During his concerts, he often combines classical pieces with vocal improvisations, sometimes with participation from the audience.

Date: February 29, 7:30pm

Venue: Shanghai Concert Hall

Address: 523 Yan'an Rd E.

Tickets: 80-1,280 yuan (US$13-203)

Tel: 962-388


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