Li Jiaxian – Representative Inheritor of Qingxi Opera of Wa Ethnic Minority in Tengchong City, Baoshan 

Li Jiaxian(李家显) was born in a Wa Ethnic family in the village called Ganzhezhai(甘蔗寨) of Tengchong, Yunnan in November 1934. His childhood was performed with his father, so he would sing when he was a child. He was the representative inheritor of Qingxi opera.

Background of Qingxi Opera

In the late Ming and early Qing dynasties, many merchants and tourists came to Ganzhezhai, waiting for the dawn of next day. At this waiting time, the merchants were inevitably looking for some fun, so they click on the lantern and sing a paragraph of the Qing opera.

Li Rukai(Great-grandfather of Li Jiaxian) was the Kalawang(Leader of Wa Ethnic) in that time, he used his way to transform the Qingxi Opera, so that it can be passed down.

After that, Qingxi Opera has became an entertainment activity for Wa Ethnic group. No matter how simple the stage was, Wa Ethnic group always gathered together to sing the Qingxi Opera after the work.

Life Experience of Li Jiaxian

Li Jiaxian was born in the Qingxi opera family. His grandfather and father were all actors of the Qingxi Opera. He has mastered the singing method of Qingxi Opera called Nine cavities and thirteen plates (九腔十三板), and he had been able to sing the dozens of regular performances such as “Jiang Gu Diao Sao (姜姑刁嫂)”, “Zhu Gan Pang Shi (逐赶庞氏)” and “Lu Lin Hui (芦林会)”.

Achievements of Li Jiaxian

He innovated and improved the Qingxi opera, and changed the way his father sang. On the basis of the original Jinghu(京胡), he added the use of instruments such as erhu(二胡), Luo(锣), drums and Bo(钵). He made the content of the Qingxi Opera more colorful.

Translate by Sean-Dai/代志云