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New Sounds of China Episode 5: Ethnicity and Music

Posted: 09/11/2011 8:00 am

Hanggai, featured in episode 5

New Sounds of China is back for its final installment today, titled Ethnicity and Music. Paul Kendall and Hu Pan take is on a journey once again, this time to the far musical reaches of the country. Here’s the description of what you’re about to hear:

Our final episode addresses the controversial matter of ethnicity and music in China. We question the portrayal of China as a homogenous nation, by playing modern tracks inspired by the traditions of the country’s many ethnic minorities. At the same time, just to be difficult, we counter the easy assumption that only minorities possess folk music, by playing tracks rooted in the traditions of the majority Han Chinese, including the work chants of Yangtze river boatmen sampled by Cui Jian, the godfather of Chinese rock.

Interviewees include: Rachel Harris, an academic expert in Chinese (particularly Xinjiang) music from the School of Oriental and African Studies; and Hanggai, a throat-singing collection of Mongolians and Han Chinese currently making their name on the world music circuit.

You can listen to Episode 5 here, and find past episodes of New Sounds of China here.


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