Tuesday, March 29, 2016

My first experience with the ancient Chinese Classical NanYin Music

I have always wanted to cover traditional music event but have been busy with other events. Recently, I manage to spare some time during last Sunday. NanYin music was staged at the Thian Hock Keng Temple. 

I know some of my photographer friends will be there to film and photograph the event. It was also a good time to catch up with them. 

One notable difference is the pipa is held in the ancient manner like a guitar which is different from the near-vertical way pipa is now usually held.

This was my first encounter with NanYin music. It was nothing like the Chinese Orchestra which we are familiar with. It was an ancient music in the Southern part of China that has been passed down generation after generation. 

The performing musicians were from Siong Leng Musical Association. During the Sunday performance, it was to celebrate the Goddess of Mercy's birthday. The Association have also invited Yayasan Oriental group, established since 1983, from Indonesia to perform with them. Interestingly, the Indonesian NanYin group do not really read much Chinese, but their dedication and love for the NanYin music, they perform well. 

How much do we know about NanYin music ? I did some research on it and are some information on NanYin music. 

From Wikipedia
Nanguan (Chinese南管pinyinNánguǎnPe̍h-ōe-jīLâm-im; literally: "southern pipes"), also called nanyin (南音), nanyue(南樂), or nanqu (南曲), is a style of Chinese classical music originating in the southern Chinese province of Fujian, and is also now highly popular in Taiwan, particularly Lukang on west coast.[1]
Fujian is a mountainous coastal province of China. Its provincial capital is Fuzhou, while Quanzhou was a major port in the 7th century CE, the period between the Sui and Tang eras. Situated upon an important maritime trade route, it was a conduit for elements of distant cultures. The result was what is now known as nanguan music, which today preserves many archaic features.
It is a genre strongly associated with male-only community amateur musical associations (quguan or "song-clubs"), each formerly generally linked to a particular temple, and is viewed as a polite accomplishment and a worthy social service, distinct from the world of professional entertainers.[1] It is typically slow, gentle, delicate and melodic, heterophonic and employing four basic scales.[2]
More will be explained at Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nanguan_(music)

More information on :

Here is an informative video about NanYin music produced by UNESCO. 

My late parents' hometown were from Foochow. I have the opportunity to visit Foochow, Qianzhou and Xiamen on a church trip together with my mum many years back. I recalled some old people gathered together to perform at the park. At that time, I did not know that they were performing NanYin music. 

Most of Singapore early migrants were from the Hokkien and Guangdong  Province. I guessed this ancient classical music NanYin did flourished in Singapore. Glad that this form of music continue to be popular among the younger generation. 

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