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Thousands of villagers join voices for Dong choir singing competition

( chinadaily.com.cn )

Updated: 2017-12-11

Some 1,300 singers from the Dong ethnic group beautifully harmonize during their performance of the Grand Song at a competition held in Xiaohuang village, Congjiang county, Guizhou province.

To take part in the 4th Grand Song Festival, hundreds of villages put their best notes forward in a singing competition held on Nov 28 to promote the protection and heritage of Dong's grand song tradition.

Thousands of villagers join voices for Dong choir singing competition
A grand chorus competition promoting Dong ethnic group traditions is held in Xiaohuang village, Congjiang County, on Nov 28. [Photo/Xinhua]

Tracing back 2,500 years, Grand chorus is an indispensable part of Dong people’s culture. Adopting simplified Chinese characters only in the last few centuries, the Dong people did not have a writing system until then. Infusing a musical twist on traditional folklore, they used song as a way of communicating and passing down stories from generation to generation.

Although the choirs require only at least three singers, the more singers, the better. Similar to a cappella groups, Dong choirs are made up of multiple people singing different harmonies and require no conductor or musical accompaniment. Unlike typical a cappella choirs, Dong choirs not only sing but also imitate natural sounds, like the chirping of birds or the bustling flow of water, to reflect their close relationship with nature.

Xiaohuang village prides itself as the home of The Grand Chorus, which was listed as a world-class intangible cultural heritage by UNESCO in 2009.

Thousands of villagers join voices for Dong choir singing competition
In decadent beads, traditional ethnic clothes, and towering head ornaments, women of the Dong ethnic group harmonize in a grand chorus. [Photo/Xinhua]

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