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A Romantic Tragedy—A Story of Zhu Yuchuan and Zhu Lun’ao 09-07-28

  Reported by Du Peiqing and Song Zhiqiang (

  Part 1

  Yuan Wanglai, who has been being engaged in folk culture for many years and was the former deputy chief of Tongshan Cultural Centre, said that it has been a long time that they only discovered some old transcripts of folk narrative poems, which have long history and their authenticity should be investigated. However, it’s the first time for them to find such a true story, which happened in modern times and was created by local author. He was interested in it when he heard of this. With his help, we found Mr. Xu Zhongzheng, who is the original author of A Story of Zhu Yuchuan and Zhu Lun’ao.

  Mr. Xu Zhongzheng is 59 years old and he is a Chinese Medicine doctor. He loves music and he is a master of tonality and urheen, he loves singing folk music and writing songs. His works, Ten Songs for Tongshan, gained the first prize in Tongshan Folk Song Contest.

  Xu Zhongzheng’s old house is located in the Old Street of the old urban area of Tongshan. The old house is near street, only less than 20 square meters, the furnishings in the house are various instruments except two tables and several chairs. It’s just like a music room.

  When we were talking, Mr. Xu’s friends came to his home in succession, who are folk song singers, among them, the oldest one is 70 years old while the youngest one is 50 years old. Mr. Xu took out a micro-amplifier and sang folk music with these singers for us, the graceful and natural music completely showed the hospitality of Tongshan people.

  Part 2

  It’s difficult to poetize, it even may cost one three years to write only two sentences and the author would cry once he reads it. It’s difficult to create folk songs, A Story of Zhu Yuchuan and Zhu Lun’ao is a crystallization of Xu Zhongzheng’s intelligence and hardwork.

  In the 1980s, a pair of young people, Zhu Yuchuan and Zhu Lun’ao, fell in love with each other. However, their love was considered as corrupting public morals and the girl’s grandfather vigorously said no to their marriage. They got nothing after their unremitting efforts, so they had no choice but to die for each other by bombing themselves. This event caused tremendous shock locally, the provincial and municipal medium even medium in Beijing paid extreme attention to it.

  Xu Zhongzheng said at that time, the couple’s photo was published in a magazine and the report about them was quite affecting. When I saw the male protagonist said that he did not want other girls but Zhu Yuchuan, I cried. Love is fine and great. Although their love is a tragedy, it is pure, holy and commiserable.

  It’s a coincidence that the couple’s hometown is located in Xikeng Village, it adjoins to Xu Zhongzheng’s hometown. And the female protagonist’s father was Xu Zhongzheng’s schoolmate. Xu knows every detail of their love. Xu Zhongzheng had special feeling once he thought of the persistence of the couple and the sorrow of his own schoolmate. Xu wanted to write a folk song about the couple’s love and make it to be transmitted generation by generation. However, at that time, he could only listen and sing folk songs, so he did not know how to create. Because he had no suitable form for expressing the couple’s love by creating a folk song, the thought could only laid aside like a stone in his heart until the day when he knew Yepai, which is a kind of mountain tune.

  Part 3

  “When I was in primary school, I liked reading the transcript of A Story of Zhu Yingtai. In those busy seasons, villagers often beat drums in mountains and farmland. I liked listening this, so I knew how to sing folk songs naturally, but I did not know how to create”. In 2001, when Xu Zhongzheng enjoyed the cool of summer night in Tongyang Bridge, he heard folk songs, which he hadn’t heard for a long time. Later, he knew that the Tongyang Bridge is a site for fans of folk songs. He felt that he had found his organization.

  One day, Xu came to the bridgehead to meet these fans of folk songs as usual. He heard an old man singing Yepai, which has graceful lyric, mild tune. So Xu Zhongzheng went to ask the old man the lyric. But what made Xu Zhongzheng depressed was that the old man refused him politely. Later, he had tried two times to get lyric from the old man but failed. So Xu swore that he would write a folk song by himself, which can compare with Yepai, no matter how hard it would be. Xu took the task as an academic problem. Quickly, he grasped the creating law of folk songs by asking help from related masters and adding his Chinese skills.

  Recalling the romantic tragedy of Zhu Lun’ao and Zhu Yuchuan, with sympathetic tears, Xu Zhongzheng wrote 41 folk songs by spending an afternoon. The next day, his master piece, A Story of Zhu Yuchuan and Zhu Lun’ao, was finished. He copied some parts of it and invited several folk song singers to comment on it by singing it. Beyond his imagination, they liked it very much and then the song was known by many local people. Some packmen got the transcript of A Story of Zhu Yuchuan and Zhu Lun’ao, and the copies were bought by many people, even thought the price was a little bit expensive, but there were still many people who wanted it.

  Part 4

  At the beginning of this year, Yuan Wanglai, who was the former associate curator of Tongshan Cultural Centre, heard someone singing A Story of Zhu Yuchuan and Zhu Lun’ao occasionally, but he did not get the copy by searching for several times. So, he found an old man, who could sing A Story of Zhu Yuchuan and Zhu Lun’ao, and he wrote down the lyric sentence by sentence. Later, he saw the original of A Story of Zhu Yuchuan and Zhu Lun’ao by asking help from an old singer.

  Yuan Wanglai said that the original of A Story of Zhu Yuchuan and Zhu Lun’ao has great difference with the folk version, which is what they have found. The original one isn’t easy to be handed down for the reason that it quotes many classical allusions, has traces of scholar’s creation. But the folk version is easy to be handed down for the reason that it has been processed by folk singers’ dialect, so the content is more popular and easier to understand, the sentences are more rhyming.

  What’s more, protagonists of the folk version are different from the original version. The original one is about a pair of young people in Xikeng Village, but the folk version is about a pair of young people, who committed suicide in Tongyang Bridge in last century. The protagonists and plots of the two versions are completely different.

  Part 5

  After the success of A Story of Zhu Yuchuan and Zhu Lun’ao, Xu Zhongzheng showed greater interest in creating folk songs. When inspiration comes, he would begin his creation even if he is having dinner.

  When we were having lunch, he suddenly left the table, but several minutes later, a folk song for greeting visitors was finished and made us feel impressed. It’s a piece of cake for him to create even 1,000 thousand folk songs. Yan Weixin, who is the chairman of Provincial Folklore Association, complimented his song after reading his collection of folk songs, preparing for helping him for publishing his collection of folk songs, which includes 600 songs of his works.

  Xu Zhongzheng said that Yepai is a kind of mountain tune, which has two and half a sentences in every part, it is popular in China, but it can only be accompanied by playing urheen, not by beating drum. Five-Sentences Folk Song is a local tune of Tongshan, which has five sentences in every part, everyone in Tongshan likes it, so I want to have a second creation on A Story of Zhu Yuchuan and Zhu Lun’ao, adapting it for Five Sentences Folk Song. With a draft in his hand, he has confidence in his new work.

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