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date: 20 January 2020

Luo Yusheng [Xiao Caiwu]locked

  • Kate Stevens

Extract

[Xiao Caiwu]

(b nr Shanghai, 1914). Chinese narrative-singer. Most influential of the female performers of jingyun dagu (Beijing drumsong) following Liu Baoquan, she created her own ‘Luo style’. She began by singing Beijing opera arias, only commencing serious study of drumsong in 1934. When she moved north with her teacher (later also accompanist), she reworked the repertory of Liu Baoquan, adding other pieces and winning acceptance in Tianjin (1936) and Beijing (1939). Alone among her contemporaries, Luo deliberately went beyond the confines of a single school, adopting elements from Bai (Yunpeng) and Young Bai (Fengming) styles. Her most successful pieces date from this period: Jian’ge wenling (‘Eavesbells at Sword Hall’), a slow reflective lament of the emperor for his lost love, created by Luo, became her signature piece. In 1951 Luo joined the new Tianjin Narrative arts troupe, where she both taught and performed through the years, creating many new pieces. She sang well into her seventies, making many recordings....

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