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Bai Sha music ensemble.JPG

with BaiSha village music ensemble


ZiyueYang and Naxi girls.JPG

with Nakhi children, Xuan BaoLian (daughter of Xuan Ke), and Zhou QiuHong


I am Kelly (Ziyue) Yang, a first year undergraduate student studying in ethnomusicology. Since 2020, every summer,  I visited Lijiang, Yunnan, and lived with Nakhi musicians in qingxi, baisha, and dayan villages. 

When I first arrived in Nakhi, I was touched by Nakhi musicians' special bond to their instruments and intrigued by their unique interpretation of Nakhi's typical DongJing music and Bai Sha Xi music pieces. I watched them playing Sugudu, and three-string, and old craftsman's process of making instruments. I also listened to indigenous Nakhi musicians' touching stories: how Xuan Ke was persecuted during the Cultural Revolution but persisted in inheriting and founded the Dayan Nakhi ancient music ensemble once he was released from the jail; how He XiuQiong, the female musician, was scolded by her husband and parents when she sneaked out and studied music while she was supposed to be at home doing housework like all the other girls...

Ms. Zhou interview .JPG

After interviewing and documenting the daily life of the founder of the Dayan Nakhi music ensemble Xuan Ke, his daughter Xuan BaoLian, one of the four instrument craftsmen He Xiu Qiong, three female musicians including Yang ChuanJuan, Zhou QiuHong, and He XiuQiong, I learned how modernization and the Cultural Revolution in 1968 had accelerated the lost of Nakhi minority's music, and how much pressure female musicians had in the past and how they were being excluded from the music ensembles. 
As a female ethnomusicologist, I am eager to take some role in preserving and inheriting Nakhi music, no matter the nuance of change. I set up our ethnomusicology documentary team with five film school graduates in the past few years. I filmed two documentaries (Chinese Living Fossil: Nakhi Ancient Music, Female Musicians in Nakhi Ancient Music). We have also digitalized and transcribed handwritten GongChe notated Nakhi music pieces written by He ZhaoLin, and set up GongChe notation(the traditional music notation which is essential for Nakhi music but no longer being taught) classes for Nakhi children. To help Nakhi female musicians, we have also set up Nakhi instrumental and vocal music classes taught by female musicians for Nakhi girls and provided them the opportunity to perform with the Dayan Naxi ancient music ensemble.
We and Nakhi musicians all believe it is essential to retain the originality of the music and create a platform for both male and female Nakhi children to learn music. 

GongChe notation class.JPG

gongche notation class
with Nakhi children and ZhaoLin He


Naxi music class for Naxi girls.JPG

Nakhi music class for Nakhi children, especially for girls


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