Art form tunes into a revival as it looks to a new generation

Share This Post

Art center director Rehman Ablimit enjoys his daily routine of leading actors through rehearsals.

The 53-year-old is from Yarkant county in Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region. The county is known as the hometown of the "12 Muqam". It is an art form known as the "mother of Uygur music", which combines classical Uygur songs, dances and music.

It was almost lost before the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949.

Thanks to the efforts of the government and local folk artists, the art form lives on.

The government arranges for folk artists to participate in training in the art form for 15 to 30 days every year, according to Rehman.

"Each artist receives a subsidy of 50 yuan (about $7.5) a day. They learn a Muqam piece every year while practicing dance and participating in various programs," he says.

To promote inheritance of the art form, the local government has invested 5 million yuan in the construction of the Muqam art center, which Rehman works with. The performance hall can accommodate hundreds of performers, and any visitor is welcome to learn the art form there.

In 2005, the Xinjiang Uygur Muqam of China was approved by UNESCO as an intangible heritage of humanity.

Awut Yuwup, an inheritor of the art form, has taught more than 60 apprentices. He has led his troupe to many provinces in eastern China to perform and introduce the art form.

"I'm proud to be a practitioner, as we can perform outside Xinjiang and spread our intangible cultural heritage," he says.

The art form has also attracted cultural enthusiasts from other parts of China.

Wang Jiangjiang, 37, from North China's Hebei province, studied opera performance and composition in Italy. He came to Xinjiang in 2010, devoting himself to establishing a "music database" of Muqam artists. He has interviewed and recorded videos of more than 3,000 Muqam artists to date.

"Muqam songs are full of ups and downs, and the drumbeats are changeable, and this can only be passed down by practitioners. At the same time, the art form's system is huge, its words are profound, and its songs are long. It is difficult to recite them completely," Wang says.

"Today, few people can sing all the pieces, and I think that is one of the reasons why they need to be recorded," he says.

Follow Chinafolk.org on Twitter and Facebook to join the conversation.
ChinaNews App Download
spot_img

Related Posts

Chinese designers shine at London Fashion Week

London Fashion Week in the British capital has witnessed a never-before-seen representation and diversity of new designers and models on the catwalks showing their spring/summer 2023 collections, with voices calling for even more collaborations with Chinese businesses and creators.

Integrating culture and tourism major goal of document

China recently unveiled its cultural development plan for the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25) period, stressing that culture is not only the soul of a country, but also the soul of national governance.

Dunhuang continues to inspire and nurture international artists

Dunhuang, in the remote Gansu province, is a symbol of openness, inclusion and infusion, for here is where different cultures along the ancient Silk Road crisscrossed, exchanged and created the brilliant fruits such as the Mogao Caves. Today, it has continued to attract artists from across the world.

Chinese artist's 'Dream Butterfly' debuts at US Burning Man festival

A sculpture that was created by Chinese artist He Miao, Dream Butterfly, debuted at the Burning Man 2022 Art Festival in Black Rock City, Nevada, the US. 

Germany's largest folk festival reopens after COVID-19 break

Germany's Oktoberfest, the largest folk festival in Germany, started Saturday in Munich, Bavaria, after a two-year COVID-induced break.

Musical on Jiang Jie to be staged in Beijing

A musical based on the well-known story of Jiang Jie, a female martyr, is to be staged at the China National Opera House in Beijing at the end of September. It's produced by the newly established musical department of Beijing Film Academy.
- Advertisement -spot_img