Go out and listen to something…

August 6, 2018

Echoes of History: Naxi Music in Modern China

Filed under: China, Autumn in Yunnan — burnett @ 7:26 am

While preparing the Autumn in Yunnan project, I am benefiting from the research underlying “Echoes of History: Naxi Music in Modern China”. Already 20 years since publication, this infinitely detailed book helps the reader drill down into the seemingly infinite levels of Chinese history, geography, culture, and tides of political and governmental entities. Ethnomusicologist Helen Rees focuses on the Naxi minority (or tribe), their absorption of Han music, and the general environment in Yunnan province that surrounds the tribal cultures of southwest China. The challenges she faced are not unlike those seen by Bela Bartok in eastern Europe between 1900-1910. In fact, Bartok decried the pollution of ethnic musics, the misrepresentation, and anti-historical performances in the name of ethnic music throughout Europe. Prof. Rees offers as good an explanation as any of how the Han majority assimilated and controlled the minority cultures, beginning in ancient times.

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