Shibaoshan Folk Song Festival of Bai Ethnic Minority in Jianchuan County, Dali

Chinese Name:剑川县石宝山歌会
English Name: Shibaoshan Folk Song Festival of Bai Ethnic Minority in Jianchuan County, Dali

According to historical records, the Shibaoshan Folk Song Festival dates back to more than 1,000 years ago. The “mountain flower style”, or the Bai antiphonal singing style, can be traced back to the Tang Dynasty (618–907). During the Folk Song Festival, the Bai people from Dali, Eryuan, Lijiang and Lanping would come in continuous crowds. On the road from the county seat to the Shibaoshan Mountain, men and women of all ages sang love songs one after another. When they were tired at night, thousands of men and women would sleep in the temples. That was the continuity of the early “group marriage” system. The Folk Song Festival is the best time for the Bai youths to pursue love.

In 2008, the Shibaoshan Folk Song Festival, as a collective exhibition of the Bai customs, was inscribed on the Second National Intangible Cultural Heritage List. The songs that are popular during the festival have been included in the catalogue of international famous folk songs. The Bai antiphonal singing style, commonly known as the “Bai tune” or the “Bai singing”, has been sung in Southwest China’s border regions for centuries and is rich in content. “The Folk Song Festival, which combines vocal music and instrumental music and prays for good fortune while making friends with songs and other activities, is the cradle of the Bai folk songs and the base for their development and spread. It has provided valuable information for the studies of arts, ethnology, anthropology, history, archaeology and aesthetics.” Professor Zhang Yaqin of College of Art and Design, Yunnan University was quoted as saying.