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Shatian Folk Songs

Updated: 2016-12-13

Created by water people and comprised of Xianshui Song (re: saltwater), Gaotang Song (to parents), Dazeng Song (about fishing), Gumei Song (for dating), Tanjiajie Song (chanting in front of female friends) and others, Shatian Folk Songs have a history of more than 170 years in both Nanping Town and Doumen District.


Xianshui Song is sung by fishermen at work; Gaotang Song to congratulate newlyweds; and Dazeng Song while fishing. All three are unaccompanied and without any auxiliary means.


Since it came into being more than a thousand years ago in the Eastern Jin Dynasty (317-420), Shatian Folk Song has been popular in sea, river and lake areas such as Zhuhai, Xinhui, and Taishan before it reached its prime in the 1950s. It is said that the Tankas referred to alluvial land as Shatian -- sand field, and thus the Shatian Folk Song.

The Tankas or boat people are an ethnic subgroup in Southern China who have traditionally lived on junks in coastal parts of Guangdong, Guangxi, Fujian, Hainan, and Zhejiang, as well as Hong Kong and Macao.


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