In the karst mountains in southern China, Liu Sanjie, a legendary folk song singer, has been venerated for many generations by the Zhuang people. For them, Liu Sanjie was and remains a saint, a symbol of the integrity, sensuality and resilience of their mountain culture. For what makes Liu Sanjie and her modern adaptations in various forms unique is her music, "Mountain Songs", are sung on hilly terrain and open spaces by the Zhuang people, remote and sequestered from the moralistic monarchies and stuffy Confucian scholar-bureaucrats in the interior China in ancient times. Young singers would often engage in singing duels where they would pit their wits against each other using riddles and word play and choose spouses mostly on that account. There is a mix of the earthiness, the sensuality, the play, and the tenderness that easily elude the uninitiated in the mainstream culture.
This fresh rendering of Liu Sanjie’s songs is addressed to the general readers of English speaking world with two aims topmost in the mind of the translator: readable and singable, the first of its kind since Liu Sanjie debuted in the Liuzhou Caidiao Opera in 1959.
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