- Kate Stevens
(b Beijing, Nov 18, 1869; d Beijing, Oct 8, 1942). Chinese narrative singer. He was the creator of jingyun dagu (‘Beijing drumsong’) and its Liu style. The son of an itinerant narrative singer from Hejian county south of Beijing, Liu by the age of seven was playing sanxian lute accompaniment for his father. He later accompanied and studied with leading drumsingers such as Song Wu, Hu Shi and Huo Mingliang. By the age of 30 he was established in Beijing, turning countryside drumsong into a sophisticated urban art. He now sang in Beijing speech, and created new and expanded melodies to depict the particular characters and mood of each tale. His sanxian accompanists, and a drumsong aficionado who wrote and revised texts, were vital collaborators, and his lifelong association with Beijing opera and its singers a constant inspiration.
His repertory of 22 pieces, mostly tales of strategy and war, loyalty and valour, drew audiences back time and again; favourites included ...