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Naxi Ancient Music

Naxi Ancient Music is regarded as a “living fossil of Chinese music.” It is a collective of Confucian ceremony, Taoist rite, and the literary lyrics, poetic topics and musical tones of the Tang, Song and Yuan Dynasties. Naxi Ancient Music has developed its own unique style and traits as the result of 500 hundred years of evolution. It includes two parts –“Baisha Fine Music” (Baisha Xiyue) and “Dongjing Music”. If you are visiting Lijiang Old Town, enjoying one concert of the wonderful Naxi Ancient Music will be one of the highlights during your stay in Lijiang.
Baisha Fine Music: This is one of ancient China's few large-scale, classical orchestral forms of music which are simple and elegant in style, and exquisite, deep-felt emotional and weeping in character.
One of the origins is Baisha Fine Music was an honoraria from the first emperor of the Yuan Dynasty, Kublai Khan. When this brave conqueror was on his expedition to Dali, which is not far from Lijiang, he met danger while crossing the Golden Sand River and received help from Aliang, the leader of the Naxi people. To show his pure-hearted appreciation, Kublai Khan left half of his band and many musical scores as a gift before leaving. These musical scores left by Kublai Khan became the origin of Baisha Fine Music.
Another saying tells that Baisha Fine Music is requiem created by ancient Naxi people. Baisha Fine Music is always played on bereavement events.
Dongjing Music: This is a type of Taoist music which was introduced to Yunnan from the central China during the Ming and Qing Dynasties. Deeply rooted and widely spread among the Naxi people, Dongjing Music has preserved some forms of music by miracle, featured by traditional Chinese story-telling in verse and "Qu Pal opera Music, which have been lost in central China.
Besides its intrinsic stateliness, purity and elegance, Dongjing Music incorporated the local musical elements, styles and the skills used in performances of the Naxi ethnic group. Dongjing Music creates a charming folk flavor which can be easily appreciated.
Naxi Music bands are famous for their “three-olds”: First, old men  Most of the players are over 70 years old. Secondly, old musical instruments Many are antiques dating back more than 100 years, some of which can not be seen in other places. Thirdly, old songs and music  Naxi Ancient Music Bands have been invited to perform in Hong Kong, Great Britain, America, Holland, Belgium and Norway, exercising great influence and gaining attention from all over the world.
Generations of national musicians devote themselves to Naxi Ancient Music and make it a part of Naxi culture. Music can represent a nation's spirit and offer a better way to know the people who play and enjoy it. Played on venerable Chinese musical instruments such as flute, Chinese lute, plectrum, and zither, Naxi Music has the power to cleanse the heart and relax the mind.
By Angela Zhangyue


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