The folk entertainment programs in Fuzhou are colorful and rich in variety, such as the Min Opera, Fuzhou Pinghua, Fuzhou Chiyi (Fuzhou Chichang) and Fuzhou Shifan, which have all been incorporated into the list of China’s intangible cultural heritages. Among them, the Min Opera and Fuzhou Pinghua are the most famous.
Min Opera, also called Fuzhou Drama, is one of the major traditional opera forms in Fujian Province, with a history of more than 400 years. It reached its peak after 1911 Revolution. The Min Opera is the only opera performed in the Fuzhou dialect, and enjoys a good popularity in Fuzhou and central, eastern and northern Fujian, where the Fuzhou dialect is spoken, as well as in Taiwan and Malay Archipelago. There are more than 1,000 Min Opera plays, most of which originated from folk tales, historical novels and ancient legends. The dance movements are very simple and the singers sing in their natural voice. Unsophisticated both in singing and dancing, the Fuzhou Opera does not lack fine scenes.
Fuzhou Pinghua is called the “living fossil” of Chinese Quyi (an ancient performing art in China). With special storytelling form of telling, singing and chanting in the Fuzhou dialect, it is popular in eastern and northern parts of Fujian Province, Taiwan and among overseas Chinese in Southeast Asia. The ballad singing is intermingled with narrations and the rules for its performance are very flexible. It is performed by one or two persons. There are hundreds of traditional pieces on its repertoire.
Fuzhou Chiyi (Fuzhou Chichang)
Fuzhou Chiyi, also named Fuzhou Chichang, is a traditional form of singing and performance that is prevalent in Fuzhou, Minhou, and other regions of Fujian Province. It is performed in the Fuzhou dialect, sometimes going with some musical instruments, mainly strings and pipes. Principal chord is hexagonal erhu accompanied by small allegro and small flat drum; the accompaniments include shuangqing, sanxian, pipa, yehu, douguan and small suona.
Fuzhou Shifan is a kind of instrumental ensemble played by folk music instruments. The performance is so named because it is played by about ten folk music instruments, including sanxian, pipa and erhu, etc. Evolved from the percussive music that accompanied the Dragon Lantern Dance, Fuzhou Shifan can generally be divided into two varieties: one kind is played only by percussion instruments and the other is performed by the combination of the national orchestral music instruments and percussion instruments.
The Shifan music is popular in Fuzhou, Minhou, Fuqing, and other regions of Fujian Province; and a “Shifan” band is usually organized informally in a village or neighborhood. Apart from dozens of folk musical compositions, they play the latest hits. The music can be pleasing and exciting!