Lanzhou Drum Song

The Lanzhou drum song is a popular folk art in the Lanzhou area, and is performed in the Lanzhou dialect. Based on folk songs from the countryside of Gansu province, it took its present form in the mid and late Qing Dynastyand was influenced by the folk art from Beijing and Shanxi province.

Usually, the Lanzhou drum song is performed by people who are seated playing the trichord, Yangqin (Chinese hammered dulcimer), Chinese lute, yu-kin, huqin, (literally "foreign musical instrument", "hu" referring specifically to foreigners from the north), vertical end-blown flute and horizontal flute.

Normally the Lanzhou drum song was performed by amateurs not professional artists. There are a lot of traditional repertoires involving historical stories and folklore. In the 1940's, Lanzhou drum song lover Li Haizhou (1907-1983) set up the Drum Song Institute of Nanshan Association, which contributed much to the preservation of the historical records of the Lanzhou drum song.

Since thePeople's Republic of Chinawas founded, the Lanzhou drum song has been staged in theaters. Famous Lanzhou drum song performers include Duan Shutang, Wang Ziying, Zhang Linyu and Wang Yalu.

But nowadays it's hard to appreciate the Lanzhou drum song performances since there are progressively fewer and fewer drum song artists.