Chinese folk songs (Northeast)

“Northeast China” refers geographically to the Heilongjiang, Jilin, and Liaoning provinces in China. The area is colder than most other areas in China, and the people there are known for their outgoing and hospitable character.Folk songs in this area reflect the features of the local residents, taking on a wider perspective towards life and an optimistic emotion.

Fishermen’s Song on the River of Wusuli (烏蘇里船歌) sung by Guo Song, is a representative minority song in this area. The song has a flowing melody which resembles the motion of the river. The lyrics talk about the beautiful scenery along the Wusuli River, and expresses the fisherman’s love towards his homeland.The song is adopted from a famous tune in Hezhe Minority in Northeast China. So Chinese people in other areas often find this song “exotic”.

Yue Ya Wu Geng (月牙五更)is more colloquial, with obvious accent and characteristic tunes. The verses of the songs tell four historical stories which happened in Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter.The song expresses the subtle feelings about the unfortunate events in life.However, the melody is not as sad as the lyrics. The song is easy to sing and popular among the elderly Chinese.

An example of the bright style in this area is Xin Huo Lang (新貨郎).  The song tells a story about a man going to villages to sell various  stuff for daily use, and the lyrics are very descriptive. In the undeveloped China when shops were not common, people in remote places rely on the travelling salesman for all the commodities they need. Other traditional Chinese instruments also help to enhance the festive atmosphere. A lot of the lyrics are said rather than sung, which makes the scene more vivid.


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