Epic Songs, Modern Times

by Guest on December 14, 2012

Li Xiuxiang, Naxi Folk Singer

First let me explain the story of the song, so you understand.

We Naxi people are shepherds. From the edge of the water source, we’ve slowly come down to live here. Nature gave us a rule: If you want to live here, you mustn’t cut down trees or kill wild animals. At the water source it’s forbidden to bloodily kill wild animals and pigs. The waterways are to be kept clean. You’re not allowed to catch frogs or kill snakes. The relationship between people and nature is paramount. If you can’t follow these rules, you can’t live here. This is all written down in the (Dongba) scriptures. But we Naxi have violated many of our scriptures. We cut down trees. Roads are everywhere. The trees are cut down and cars come in. Everything is opened up.

The scriptures also say this is a blessed land, rich with gold, silver, copper, iron, and tin. The books say these kinds of things. The books say this, but we do our own things our way. We’ve violated so many of these rules. My heart is ashamed.

I’m a Naxi folk singer from Lijiang. We normally learn these songs while out in the fields. We learn them out in the mountains, not at home. During the Cultural Revolution many of these folk songs gradually disappeared. In the past our Naxi folk songs were all epic stories. Some had tens of thousands of lines. Some had thousands of lines. Some had hundreds of lines. Basically, I’m a singer of epic poetry.


Li Xiuxiang is a Naxi folk singer in Lijiang, Yunnan. [Photo: CRIENGLISH.com]

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