Preview: Croydon Summer Festival, Lloyd Park, Coombe Road, London

Chinese sisters are duo-ing it for themselves
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The Independent Culture

The musical duo Chi2, sisters Liz Chi Yen and Sarah Chi Shang Liew, fuse their Chinese heritage with Western influences to create a unique musical experience that some have called "a double violin assault", although Liz prefers the term "upbeat chill-out music".

Their approach makes them the perfect act for this year's Croydon Summer Festival. The event began as a one-day Asian celebration, or Mela, 11 years ago and has grown to incorporate a second World Party day that aims to involve the wider community through street theatre, dance and live bands.

Chi2 will appear alongside an eclectic range of artists including De La Soul and Ojos De Brujo - a line-up that reflects the diverse cultural make-up of the borough. "It's a good reflection of London's ethnicity," says Liz. "Also, bands like us aren't mainstream, so we get the chance to perform at a free festival in London."

Playing with cellist Pauline Kirke, Liz and Sarah have provided the live string section for pop acts such as Moby, Anastacia and electronic duo Lamb. As session artists, they have recorded music for Goldfrapp, Uriah Heep and Nelly Furtado, to name a few. "We've had really good luck," says Liz. "We've worked with amazing artists and we learn from every band we play with."

It's a combination of musical pedigree and sisterly intuition that makes Chi2 so spectacular. Growing up in a musical household in North London, the sisters were taught piano and violin from an early age. Later, Liz studied at the Royal Academy of Music and Guildhall School of Music and Drama, while Sarah's training included stints at Purcell School of Music and the Academy of Traditional Chinese Opera in Beijing.

"As sisters, we understand each other," says Liz. "We can finish off each other's musical phrases because we're in tune with each other. We're classically trained, but we like to take an old art form and turn it on its head."

15-16 July (020-8760 5672; www.croydon.gov.uk/summerfestival)

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