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China Matters documents the encounter of an American family and the Grand Song of the Dong ethnic group in Guizhou


Among dozens of minority groups in southwestern China’s Guizhou province, the Dong ethnic group is widely known for its tradition of passing on culture and knowledge in music, especially in “dage,” or Grand Song in Chinese.

As a group art form, Grand Songs are performed formally in the drum-tower, a landmark venue for rituals, entertainment and meetings in a Dong village. Most of the choir are women aged from teens to elders.

Narrating history, daily life and romance stories of the Dong ethnic group, Grand Song performances have become an attraction for tourists visiting Dong villages. The art form remains a crucial symbol of Dong ethnic identify and cultural heritage.

The Dong ethnic group has around 3 million population in China, most of whom more traditional Dong live in eastern Guizhou. The Dong people attach great importance to preserving their traditions and remembering their origins. Songs are believed by them to be a good way to appreciate their origins.

To observe and experience this tradition in person, American vlogger Brenna and her family visited a Dong village in southeastern Guizhou. The family learned to sing the Grand Song with a local choir and joined their performance. They also experienced other local folk arts such as printing and dyeing.

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Zhong Lei

Source: China Matters

Source: China Matters