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Spring to Return:Xianning Folk Art has Got a Promising Road
http://English.xianning.gov.cn 11-04-26
 

  Reported by Li Ping and Zhang Min (www.xnnews.com.cn

  Folk art is a general name for Singing and Telling arts, which is both narrative and lyrical. Folk art is very popular with the Chinese masses due to its lively style and its refined, exquisite and catchy language, which evolves from folk oral literature and the art of singing and has its own special rhythm. With distinct folk and mass characteristics, its performance is very simple and easy, and it can quickly reflect life. Therefore it has been prosperous for a long time and will pass to the far future.

  How about the present state of Xianning folk art which is the profound local culture? On April 24, the reporter went to the relevant department to conduct an interview.

  "Xianning has lots of bridges, which are in various sizes and forms, are praised by thousands of people, and can’t be concluded in a few words, such as Xihe bridge, Longtan bridge, Ma bridge, etc. "When the reporter saw the President of the Xianning City Folk Art Artists Association, Yang Qin, he was vividly improvising clapper talks performed by four people. That was a section of Xianning is Full of Bridges and Stories. The concise talk presented people the artistic conception of many bridges, beautiful style and lots of story.

  "This is the masterpiece of our Xianning City Folk Art Artists Association and it has been performed in various large-scale evening parties for many times." Yang Qin cheerfully told the reporter.

  Xianning Folk Art Artists Association, founded in 1995, is a professional mass organization composed by Xianning folk art artists of their own accord. The number of the existing members is nearly 40, of which the oldest is 70 years old and the youngest is less than 10 years old. Xianning Folk Art Artists Association concentrates all kinds of creation, performance, theory and management personnel on folk art, such as cross talks, comic dialogues, clapper talks, two-man comic shows, etc. It takes the responsibilities of liaison, coordination and services, and of making great efforts to identify, foster and cultivate the talents of folk art, building a study and communication platform among members.

  It is said that since the establishment of Xianning City Folk Art Artists Association, every year it hosts a "Send Joy into the Barracks" activity. It also participates in Hubei Flowers Reading Society and folk art Competition held every two years or three years, and wins a prize every time.

  In 2003, Xianning is Full of Bridges and Stories,a clapper-talk program,stood out from the province's 4000 competition programs, winning the third prize, which was also broadcasted on Hubei People's Broadcasting Station for an entire year, receiving high praise and causing great repercussions. In 2005, Festival Songs, a comic dialogue program, won the second prize in Folk Art Contest of Six Provinces in Central China. Speaking of these honors, Yang Qin said cheerfully: "Xianning folk art artists take pride in these honors."

  In recent years, Xianning Folk Art Artists Association has carried out all kinds of activities. "Our association is the most active association in Xianning City, and the citizens know this well." Yang Qin said. In addition to perform for barracks, the association also hosts public service performances and participates in campus theatrical performances. In 2008, after the snowstorm and Wenchuan Earthquake, folk art artists held public service performances and raised money for disaster-stricken areas. Toilsome as they were, they were very happy. "We also write programs about anti-snowstorm advanced deeds to perform, which is well-received by the public," Yang Qin recalled.   

  Xianning folk art has its own unique characteristics. Singing and telling combine with the dialect as well as local customs, forming the unique Xianning local flavor. "Folk art is a kind of oral language, a narrative performing art of singing and telling, and it also has the most profound tradition. The continuation of a kind of local culture is closely related to the verbal creation, oral performances and the word-of-mouth folk art." Yang Qin believes that folk art is the best carrier of representing and inheriting Xianning distinctive culture.

  At the night of April 19, Yang Qin and the members of the association gave some performances with strong Xianning flavor for the elites from the National Hardware and Electrical Chamber of Commerce at Ford Hotel in Xian'an District. Among which, Dialect Talk, a dialect comic dialogue, set everybody roaring with laughter. When the performances were over, the chairman of provincial Hardware and Electrical Chamber of Commerce, Xia xihan, who invested in building mechanical and electrical hardware market in Xianning, learnt Xianning dialect and also said that he would understand Xianning words gradually in order to help him deal with the locals.

  However, with economic and social development, people have more colorful ways of recreation. Therefore folk art is faced with difficulties in its development. The question of how to pass it from generation to generation places a heavy burden on Xianning Folk Art Artists Association. In 2006, the association affiliated to Yuanjing Cultural Communications Co. Ltd. established in the same year, took the company as a platform to move towards the market and carry on the commercialization operation. At the same time the association would increase efforts to mine and train new generations as well as pass on experience.

  With regard to the next step on the association’ strategy, Yang Qin said that he was thinking how to make folk art move towards tourist attractions to serve tourism culture, greeting guests from afar in unique Xianning way. Yang Qin believed that it would allow distant customers to better understand Xianning City to combine beautiful Xianning scenery with local folk art performances and thus better seize the hearts of tourists. He called for more public attention and support for folk art career, and hoped that it would have more development room and a larger stage, and could really come to the citizens’ lives. As a senior folk art artist, he also believed Xianning folk art that was once a smash hit would eventually usher in a new vista. (Reported by Li Ping and Zhang Min)


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