Shen Yun ‘A Communication to the Soul and the Spirit,’ Says ‘The Lion King’ Soundtrack Singer

March 24, 2023

NORTHRIDGE, California—“A communication to the soul and the spirit” is what studio singer Rick Riso says about Shen Yun Performing Arts. The classical Chinese dance company wrapped up three sold-out shows in Northridge, California.

Rick Riso is a studio singer and voiceover artist. He’s sang on movie soundtracks for films like the Lion King and Shrek 2.

“Being in entertainment for so many years, I know the difference about when a performance moves you, but when it goes beyond intellectual, and it goes to the spirit and the soul and the heart. That’s what I felt, I felt like I had embraced Chinese culture. And it was so motivating for me to want to be even a better person that I tried to be,” said Riso.

He noted the two-stringed Chinese violin, the Erhu, caught his and his wife’s attention. “We were kind of nudging each other silently going, like, wow, this is something that in all of our life, we’ve never experienced that kind of musical expression,” said Riso, “It was almost like because we’re both professional singers, where there is that person that is just so much of a virtuoso that it’s undeniable, you can just think we’re in another dimension right now. So that’s how we we felt.”

Riso’s wife, Cathay Riso, is a singer and a vocal teacher. She said Erhu touched her soul, “they were so transcendent.”

She added as a singer, she really identified with the Erhu’s broad range “because you have to be an actor to be a singer, you have to really be in touch with the emotions of a song. And there are times where you have to really dig deep and I feel like that instrument oh my goodness. It like really reaches into your heart. It reaches into your soul in the most tender touching ways. And it doesn’t beat you over the head. It’s very subtle and very tender and sweet. And it takes you on a ride. You know? And you want to go with it wherever it’s going. And it just was magical.”

Rick Riso added the performance was beyond a good effort: “This was for me about as close to perfection in terms of the art form. And the marriage between the orchestral aspects, and the actual dancing aspects and performing aspects. It was seamless.”

He also took note of the spiritual message in Shen Yun. “I’m a guy who has a deep abiding faith for many years. It’s different than the faith that was exemplified here. But my heart and my soul resonated to that message. Because I do believe that we are not here by happenstance. That we have a divine creator, and that we carry that imprint on our own souls and spirits. And we let a lot of things get in the way. So to come back to that reminder was fabulous.”

Shen Yun is continuing its tour in California, Florida, South Carolian, and Oregon.

NTD News, Northridge, California