Wang Yufang – Inheritor of the Epopee “Ashima” of Yi Ethnic Minority in Shilin County, Kunming
Name: Wang Yufang (王玉芳), Inheritor of the Yi Epopee Ashima(阿诗玛)
Race: Yi Ethnic Minority (Sani People)
Birth: Born in 1941
Hometown: Yizheng Village, Changhu Town, Shilin Yi Autonomous County, Kunming City(昆明市石林彝族自治县长湖镇宜政村)
Influenced by her family and the strong traditional culture of the Yi people around her, Wang Yufang(王玉芳) began to learn to sing the Gaimi(该谜, which means love song), Xi tune(喜调), Curse tune(骂调) and other folk songs at the age of 16, following her mother and the folk ballad master in the village. Especially when she was grazing in the mountains, she often listened to the tunes of herd boys and girls, and learn from them. She gained a good voice and improved her singing skills. Wang Yufang mastered the classic folk songs of Sani of the Yi ethnic people, such as Shepherd Girl(牧羊姑娘), Guishan Rainbow(圭山彩虹), Bamboo Leaves Evergreen(竹叶长青) and Kuhou Tune(库吼调).
Wang Yufang especially good at the long oral narrative poem Ashima in the Sani language. Different versions and several singing forms are singing freely by her. The lyrics and melodies of Wang Yufang are simple and touching, with strong local color. She is praised by the Sani people as the living Ashima among the people.
Due to her excellent singing skills, Wang Yufang has won numerous awards in successive Yi ethnic folk song competitions. She was often invited to sing folk songs by surrounding counties such as Mile(弥勒) and Luxi(泸西). Currently, wang yufang’s apprentices include Jin Rongfen(金荣芬) and Pu Rui(普瑞).