The Songs of Chuanjiang Haozi

Updated: 2007-04-16 07:32

The Songs of Chuanjiang Haozi are the songs boatmen used to unify their rowing rhythm. It generally has a lead singer supported by others and originated in Chongqing City and eastern Sichuan Province. The Songs of Chuanjiang Haozi were inspired by the environment around the singers, such as mountains or rivers. Singing the Haozi is a good way to fight fatigue and build strength, power and spirit.

According to Wang Qunsheng, vice-director of the Chongqing Cultural and Historical Museum, Chuanjiang Haozi may be possible to trace the roots of the Haozi to the salt industry.

According to historical records, Li Daoyuan, a famous geologist in the time of the Northern Wei (386-534), he heard the fishermen singing the Haozi and wrote in his classic work on China's waterways, the Commentary on the Waterways Classic, "Of the three gorges in Badong, the Wu Gorge is the largest. When the monkeys wailed three times, I found my shirt soaked with tears." This is the first mention in history of the Haozi.

In 2002, the Chongqing Museum received a tape from Germany. It contained a recording of the Haozi made by the German consul and his wife at the end of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). This is the earliest audio and video material of the Chuanjiang Haozi.

There are dozens of categories and thousands of songs and repertoires. Some representative songs include the Kuixing Buiding, The Big Turtledove and the Small Turtledove. The songs are believed to be a cultural treasure by academics, as they embody the spirit of the working people.

Now power boats outnumber those fueled by manpower, and the songs are dying out. So protective measures need to be taken as soon as possible to keep this piece of cultural heritage alive.

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