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Biman Brothers and Family: Qiang Polyphonic Singing
Zewang Renqing and Geluo Zhaxi, Sichuan Province, 2014.
Zewang Renqing and Geluo Zhaxi, Sichuan Province, 2014.
Photo by Jing Li, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections, Smithsonian Institution

The Qiang people live mostly in valleys in western Sichuan Province, which was severely damaged by an earthquake in 2008, thereby threatening the continuity of Qiang culture. Today there are relatively few who can still sing these ancient songs, which document the history of the Qiang people. Zewang Renqing 泽旺仁青 and Geluo Zhaxi 格洛扎西 learned Qiang polyphonic singing while herding cattle with their parents. In 2006, Zewang and Geluo won the bronze prize at the CCTV National Youth Singers’ Competition and have since toured internationally. For the Folklife Festival, they were joined by their wives Shi Maomao 石昴毛 and Lin Macuo 林玛磋 to recreate the atmosphere of local wine parties with songs and dances.

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