Culture\Music and Theater

Chants in the hills

By Chen Nan and Yang Jun | China Daiky | Updated: 2017-03-13 07:06

Chants in the hills

The chanting of verses from the King Yalu epic is a common feature at funerals and festivals of the Miao ethnic group. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Huang was known for his singing of all six battlefield scenes from the epic.

"His death is a big loss," says Chen.

"I am afraid the tradition will die someday. I spent my whole life learning and preserving the songs, and they are priceless to me. I hope to pass them to the young generation," he adds.

There are some 3,000 dong lang among a population of 300,000 in western Guizhou's impoverished Mashan area, says Yang Zhengjiang, director of the King Yalu Cultural Research Center.

Yang Zhengjiang, himself a member of the Miao community, started his research on the epic after he graduated from Guizhou Minzu University in 2002.

Since 2009, the 32-year-old has interviewed hundreds of folk singers, including Huang and Chen, to make video and audio recordings about King Yalu.

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