SOAS University of London

Department of Music, School of Arts

SOASIS DVD3 - Doing Things – Ceremonial And Ritual In North China

Doing Things – Ceremonial And Ritual In North China

This film by Stephen Jones also accompanies his book ‘Ritual and Music of North China: Shawm Bands in Shanxi (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2007). With two thirds of China’s population still rural, the film draws attention to the musical life of villagers, still based on ritual maintained since imperial times, working outside the state system. It highlights the ceremonial practice of shawm bands and lay Daoist priests in one small area of rural north China, the county of Yanggao, and its modification under the assault of pop music since the 1990’s. It is in two parts, taking us through the sequence of funerals and temple fairs in turn and also a bonus section which illustrates a complete funerary shawm suite form 1992, with the Hua family shawm band playing in superb melodic and rhythmic ensemble.