"Beijing Drum Songs" (Jingyun dagu) is a traditional genre of Chinese narrative singing, one that flourished in Beijing at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. Sung by one singer who plays a flat drum, which is accompanied by an ensemble of pipa (four-string lute), sanxian (three-string lute), and sihu (four stringed fiddle), "Beijing Drum Songs" musically tell many stories from the Sanguo Yanyi (Romance of the Three Kingdoms) and the Shuihuzhuan (All Men Are Brothers), portraying martial heroes, treacherous villains, and charming ladies. Currently, leading singers of "Beijing Drum Songs" are all female, and their performances musically underscore negotiations of gender relations in China.

Ms. YANG Fengjie, the featured performer, is one of the most esteemed performers of the genre. The instrumentalists are members of the Tianjin Troupe of Narrative Songs.

March 16, 2013

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