Xiaohai Xin Village

Xiaohai Xin 1 Village (小海新村) is located in Tangzi Street, Xundian Yi and Hui Autonomous County (寻甸彝族回族自治县), Kunming City, Yunnan Province. It is a typical resettlement village. Originally named Xiaohai Village, it underwent a transformation in 2017 when 33 households from Shanhou Village, located 10 kilometers away and facing geological hazards, were relocated to Xiaohai Village with the support of China’s poverty alleviation policies. This relocation led to the renaming of the village as Xiaohai Xin Village. Currently, the village consists of 77 households of original villagers and 33 households of newly relocated villagers. All 33 relocated households are registered impoverished households and have been allocated newly built brick-concrete structured houses. The village is a pure Miao community, belonging to the Da Hua Miao subgroup and speaking the Northeastern Yunnan Miao dialect. In 2020, it was designated as a Featured Village of Ethnic Minorities in China, highlighting its unique cultural and linguistic heritage.

小海新村位于云南省昆明市寻甸彝族和回族自治县的塘子街道。是一个典型的易地搬迁村庄。该村原名为小海村,在中国扶贫攻坚政策的推动下,于2017年迎来了来自10公里外山后村地质灾害隐患点的33户村民,随着这次搬迁,村庄更名为小海新村。目前,村落共由77户老村民和33户新迁入的村民共同组成。新迁入的33户村民均为建档立卡贫困户,并且每户都分到了新建的砖混结构安居房。该村落是一个纯粹的苗族社区,隶属于大花苗的支系,并且使用的是滇东北地区的苗族方言。于2020年被命名为中国少数民族特色村寨。

1. the ‘Xin’ is Pinyin to ‘新’, which is the Chinese word for ‘new’.
Xiaohai Xin Village. (photo by Keyi Liu)
Xiaohai Xin Village. (photo by Keyi Liu)
The young villagers gather together for rehearse music performances. (photo by Haiyan Long).

Miao Musical Culture in Xiaohai Xin Village

The villagers of Xiaohai Xin Village possess a profound passion for music and dance, reflected in the existence of two performing arts groups: the Old Village Art Troupe and the New Village Art Troupe, with the former is organized into senior, youth, and children’s team. The village’s music and dance are rich and varied, with the older generation primarily preserving the Miao’s traditional songs, such as ancient tunes, flying songs, and Lusheng (mouth organ) tunes. On the other hand, the younger villagers show a preference for modern innovation, enthusiastically embracing newly composed and original Miao songs and dances, as well as contemporary popular music.

Villagers primarily engage in farming and poultry rearing for their livelihoods. In the evenings, after dinner, they come together to relax and entertain themselves with singing and dancing. Here’s a glimpse of the village youths gathering in the activity room after dinner, casually dancing to DJ remixes of Miao songs.

村民们对音乐舞蹈的热忱很高,该村落有两支文艺队:老村文艺队和新村文艺队,其中老村文艺队又分为老年人组、青年人组和儿童组。村里的音乐舞蹈形式多样,中老年人群主要传承苗族的传统歌曲,如古歌、飞歌和芦笙调,而中青年群体则偏爱现代化的创新,热衷于新编曲和原创的苗族歌曲与舞蹈,以及流行歌曲。村民们日常以农耕和家禽养殖为生,通常在晚上劳作之余会聚集在一起,通过唱歌和跳舞来放松娱乐。

ECura’s Collaboration with Xiaohai Xin Village

In February 2024, researcher Keyi Liu, representing the ECura project team, signed a cooperation agreement with two community leaders, Hongming Zhang and Haiyan Long, in Xiaohai Xin Village to jointly promote the inheritance of Miao’s traditional music culture. During the fieldwork in Xiaohai Xin Village, Keyi Liu participated in and observed the local Miao villagers’ music and dance activities, gaining a detailed understanding of the village’s specific needs for developing these domains. The aims of this cooperation are to record the ancient Miao songs passed down by the village elders and to provide support for the younger generation’s new adaptations and creations of Miao music and dance. Additionally, the cooperation intends to use online media platforms to transform these daily music-related activities into digital content for wider dissemination, with the goal of promoting broader recognition and appreciation of Miao music and dance in modern society.

2024年2月,研究员刘可意作为ECura项目的代表,在小海新村与两位社区负责人张洪明和龙海燕签署了共同推进苗族传统音乐文化传承的合作协议。刘可意在田野中参与和观察了小海新村村民们日常的音乐和舞蹈活动,并详细了解了村民们在发展该领域的具体需求。此次合作的目的,一是记录村里老一辈人传承下来的苗族古歌;并根据青年一代改编和创作苗族音乐的需求提供相应的帮助。二是利用线上媒体平台将村民们日常生活中与音乐相关的活动转化为数字内容进行传播,增强公众对苗族音乐与舞蹈的认知与欣赏。

Miao community leader Haiyan Long signs the cooperation agreement with ECura.(photo by Keyi Liu)
Miao community leader Hongming Zhang signs the cooperation agreement with ECura. (photo by Keyi Liu)
ECura’s PI Dr. Lijuan Qian Meets with Miao Community Leader Hongming Zhang (photo by Lijuan Qian).

Dr. Lijuan Qian Meets with Miao Community Leader Hongming Zhang for Collaboration

Principal Investigator of the ECura project team, Dr. Lijuan Qian, conducted fieldwork in Yunnan in July 2024. During her fieldwork, she visited Hongming Zhang and inquired about the development needs of the Miao community regarding the preservation of traditional music. During the meeting, Hongming Zhang expressed his desire to learn how to create musical scores using MIDI software for multi-instrument compositions, with the support of ECura’s academic guidance. Additionally, he showed interest in learning piano tuning to ensure that the villagers’ instruments are well-maintained for their musical activities. Furthermore, Hongming Zhang highlighted the rich collection of epic stories within the Miao community that await exploration. Lijuan Qian agreed to begin preparing for these initiatives and proposed collaboration between ECura and the Miao community to enhance their musical capabilities with modern techniques.

ECura 项目团队首席研究员钱丽娟博士于2024年7月在云南进行了实地调研。调研期间,她拜访了苗族社区负责人张洪明,并问询了苗族社区的关于传统音乐保护方面的发展需求。在会谈中,张洪明表达了他希望在 ECura 的学术指导下,学习使用 MIDI 软件为多乐器编曲的愿望。此外,他还对学习钢琴调音表现出了兴趣,以确保村民们的乐器在音乐活动中得到良好的维护。此外,张洪明还强调了苗族社区丰富的史诗故事,这些故事有待进一步发掘。钱丽娟同意为这些计划做准备并将提供技术支持。