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Ethnic minority folk songs bring spirit of CPC Congress to life

China Daily,December 26, 2017 Adjust font size:

It may not seem like a theme typical of an average folk song, but the spirit of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China is now being included in the lyrics China's ethnic minority folk music.

"Luoer tune" is a folk song genre originating from the Tujia ethnic minority in Chongqing. Eager to spread the Party spirit, the Tujia are embracing the 19th National Congress in their music.

Jubilance for Sunrise is a classic Luoer tune, a folk style recognized as a top State-level intangible cultural heritage in 2006. The style has been widely sung nationwide and sometimes even outside China.

The Xinyu Community Chorus has attracted a wide audience since it started singing an updated version of Jubilance for Sunrise. The chorus recently sang a new version of the song with lyrics focusing on the content of the report delivered at the 19th National Congress, with dozens of audience members joining in at a performance in Hongjing community.

The song now reflects many buzzwords from the congress, such as "rural revitalization", "moderately prosperous society", and "never forget why you started".

Promoting the spirit of the congress in China can be difficult due to the many different ethnic groups with diverse customs and living standards. Many people in rural areas are illiterate, so they need the right style of publicity to suit their needs.

Nanping village in the Shizhu Tujia autonomous county has 302 villagers living in poverty. There are not enough paved roads in the village, and some villagers have no water supply to their homes.

But a civil chorus came to the village in November to sing the new version of the folk song and bring the fresh spirit of the congress.

Villager Tan Yongcheng fondly remembers many of the lyrics, about "muddy roads in the village", "caring about villagers suffering from sicknesses", and "ensuring rural children's education and the village water supply".

"I like the new version," said Tan, who has suffered poverty and illness for many years. "This kind of publicity is enlightening and straightforward."

Wang Qiongying, head of the county's publicity department, said: "People in this county are familiar with folk music. More than 40 versions have been created based on local folk songs since the commencement of the congress.

"The lyrics express the detailed policies of the congress, such as poverty alleviation and road maintenance. Those are things that ordinary people care about. It is also a new way of creating publicity, different from the dogmatic formalist publicity of the past."

Even those working for government culture departments and enterprises have joined the publicity singalongs alongside civil performers.

"The lyrics are rewritten by Party committees so as to ensure they are precise," said Ran Longyu, who is in charge of the Hongteng Troupe. "We use dialects to sing and perform, bringing the content of the congress down to earth."

Folk music is just one of the many styles used to encourage the spirit of the congress nationwide. There are also activities on boats in southwest Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, targeting people living near reservoirs who have difficulty receiving outside information.

In yurts in the Inner Mongolia autonomous region, the local government has publicized the spirit of the congress using Ulger, a style of traditional folk music.