From ethnic sounds of Guizhou to audiences in Germany

Updated: 2015-06-02 07:57

By Zhang Kun(China Daily)

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From ethnic sounds of Guizhou to audiences in Germany

Dong Singers, a band of six members from southwestern China's Guizhou province, takes part in the International Festival of Vocal Music in Leipzig, Germany, in May. Photo provided to China Daily

Mu, who is a doctoral candidate in ethnomusicology at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, says the singers are more confident about their tradition after receiving positive feedback from the concerts in Leipzig.

Some scholars used to believe that polyphonic music was absent in traditional Chinese music, but with the discovery of the "grand song of the Dong people" in the 1950s, that perception changed, says Qiao Jianzhong, a professor at Shanghai Conservatory of Music.

After Germany, the band made a stop in Shanghai on its way back to Guizhou, to give a concert at Bandu Cabin, a live-house venue for music lovers in the city, and held an interactive session with students of Shanghai Conservatory of Music.

The group presented songs of love, accompanied by their traditional stringed instruments and an improvised instrument made from a single leaf.

"The songs are our way of passing on wisdom, knowledge and life experiences to others," says Wu Zaifeng, a member of Dong Singers.

"Everybody sings, right from their childhood," Wu says of his hometown.

The eldest member of Dong Singers is aged 51 and the youngest is 29. While not singing, they all work on the farmlands, cultivating rice in Liping.