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Published: September 8th 2020
Separated by more than a thousand years, these performers take you back in time through the medium of art. At 8 PM on June 25, a major music program on CCTV 1, "Everlasting Classics", gathered many famous stars such as Dimasi, Wang Yuan, Han Geng, and Tan Weiwei to perform. This was the first broadcast since the outbreak of COVID-19. Tan Weiwei’s performance of "A Thousand Songs on the River" and the Art Troupe’s "Impression of Wulong" were especially inspiring.
In recent years, Tan Weiwei has been dedicated to evoking memories of traditional culture with her songs. She travels around the country collecting folk music and looking for ancient musical elements. When she came to the Yangtze River valley, she heard the local people interpreting the ancient song "Chuanjiang Haozi"
with a new way of singing. This inspired her to incorporate the song into her performance of more popular songs. Tan Weiwei skillfully integrated the traditional folk singing form of "Chuanjiang Haozi" into Liu Yuxi's poem "Zhuzhici.” This not only enriched the song level but retained the original beauty of Chuanjiang Haozi. This beautiful mix of traditional and popular culture was the biggest highlight
of the performance!
Different from the exquisite "Zhuzhici", "Chuanjiang Haozi" is much more straightforward. It is a singing form created by the boat trackers in the Chuanjiang River basin in the Sichuan and Chongqing regions for the purpose of unifying movement and rhythm. Captains created songs with different rhythms, tones and emotions inspired by the flowing water of the river. This kind of resounding spirited singing became a way for the boat trackers to inspire their crews!
In the performance, Tan Wiewie’s feminine beauty met the masculine heroism of the male performer and created something unique and memorable for the audience to enjoy! The singer, whose loud voice supported Tan Weiwei, was Yang Xingyong, the successor of the intangible cultural heritage of "Chuanjiang Haozi".
An ordinary farmer from Wulong, Yang gave up his love of singing in order to work and avoid poverty. With tourism booming in his hometown, he returned home to become an actor in "Impression of Wulong," a large-scale landscape drama in Chongqing, and led a dual life as a farmer and an actor. In order to perform "Chuanjiang Haozi" well, Yang Xingyong, who has only junior middle school education,
studied hard and gradually became the lead singer of the "Impression of Wulong." Yang Xingyong has performed more than 2,000 times on stage in the "Impression of Wulong", giving millions of viewers a sense of the hardships and indomitability of boat trackers. With the popularity of Wulong tourism behind him and the improvement of his singing level, this farmer from the small stage sang the "Chuanjiang Haozi" in Wulong, Beijing, Shanghai, Fujian, Taiwan, and even Japan.
Now, although "Chuanjiang Haozi" ,this kind of folk voice is slowly disappearing, some young people shoulder the mission of keeping this inheritance alive. Not to simply commemorate or retain the knowledge of it, but to carry it in their hearts.
Just like the program "Everlasting Classics" shares poems and transmits classics, the "Impression of Wulong" is a carrier of the national intangible cultural heritage of "Sichuan Culture". In a short 70-minute performance, the "Impression of Wulong" condenses the essence of thousands of years of Ba and Yu culture. It takes the "Chuanjiang Haozi" as the main line, displaying the optimistic state of mind, hard-working and positive spirit of the boat trackers as they face the dangers and challenges
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