Music in Society WEBINAR 1—‘The bones of songs’ and China’s cultural heritage: why Chinese minority songs matter
- Event Name
- Music in Society WEBINAR 1—‘The bones of songs’ and China’s cultural heritage: why Chinese minority songs matter
- 20 May 2022
- 12:00 pm - 01:00 pm
Address (Room): Online
‘The bones of songs’ and China’s cultural heritage: why Chinese minority songs matter
Dr Catherine Ingram, Senior Lecturer, Sydney Conservatorium of Music, The University of Sydney.
“They are just listening to the melody,” commented one of my Kam (in Chinese, Dong 侗) song teachers from Guizhou province on the audience reaction to a Kam song performance, “they aren’t listening to the bones of the song.” For experienced Kam singers, it is the lak ga – the bones of songs, the Kam name for song lyrics – that is still the most important aspect of a song and its performance. Kam songs, including Kam ‘big song’, the multi-part Kam choral genre recognized by UNESCO as world Intangible Cultural Heritage, are mainly sung in the Kam language, a Tai-Kadai language with no widely used written form that is completely different from Chinese. The lyrics are by turn educational and philosophical, dealing with historical, social, environmental, agricultural and cosmological issues that have been important to Kam people for centuries. In this lecture I draw upon my extensive research on Kam song over an eighteen-year period, and my experience joining Kam friends and teachers in many Kam song performances, to explain how Kam song is understood by Kam people and why songs of Chinese minorities such as the Kam minority continue to be significant today.
Speakers: Dr Catherine Ingram
Name: Sree Chandra
School / Department: Institute for Australian and Chinese Arts and Culture