Chinese folk songs (Northwest China)

My previous articles are mainly focusing on south and east China. It turns out, however, that folk songs in the Northwest differs from the gentle style of the south. There are more topics about the lifestyle, farming, and even social movements in this area.

Chinese folk songs are never short of love stories. This is the same for Northwest China. The love songs in this area, however, are stronger in emotion. The lyrics are much clearer, and some people even think they lack the beauty of reservedness. A typical example is Lan Hua Hua (兰花花). The song tells how a beautiful girl was forced to give up her lover and marry someone she didn’t love. We can easily feel the transition of emotion from peaceful to angry in the song. She successfully escaped at last, and the couple left the village forever.

Many Shanxi folk songs are based on the revolutionary history of the Chinese Red Army. Most of the songs feature the selflessness of the sodiers and how the masses welcome them. A famous song is Shandandan Kai Hua Hongyanyan (山丹丹开花红艳艳). The red flowers here also symbolizes the passion of the Red Army sodiers.

In The Yellow River Canata (黄河大合唱), the masterpiece about China’s struggling in the Japanese invasion, there’s a song that is typical of Northwestern China style. The song is Huanghe Chuanfu Qu (黄河船夫曲). The song offers an account of how the water of Huanghe River flows and how Chinese people manage to survive the difficult situations.


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