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Beijing Tune Drum (Jingyun Drum)

13 November 2011

Beijing Tune Drum (京韵大鼓 Jingyun Drum) was an audio art form popular in Tianjin and Beijing. It's normally performed by one person who narrates a story in a melodic fashion and through role playing method while beating a drum to tune the rhythm and control the speed.

Luo Yusheng (骆玉笙) was a native Shanghai girl but became a monumental figure in Jingyun Drum art field with a performing career expanded for nearly 70 years. The above two video clips were recorded when she was in her advanced 80s.

The Song of Dignity

Wen Tianxiang was a winner of the top scholar prize in the Southern Song Dynasty. When Chinese kingdom was destroyed by the Mongols, Wen led a fierce military resistance to colonial forces. But his heroic attempt was failed and he was captured by the enemies. During the three years living behind the bars, he was repeatedly solicited by his former colleague, who had surrendered to the invaders, to agree to serve the new lord. Wen rejected out right and determined to die with dignity. On the way to meet his fate, he composed a poem titled The Song of Dignity, that has become one of the most frequently cited classics in Chinese literature. In the poem, there are two lines that are particularly cherished by Chinese people:


Everyone must die, let me but leave a loyal heart shining in the pages of history.

Beat the Drum to Denunciate the Evil Prime Minister


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