Subei drum inheritor hands down intangible cultural heritage
2017-12-08 16:42:00

Niu Chongxiang, 54, is an inheritor of Subei drum of Jiangsu province. He has been playing Subei drums for more than 30 years.

Subei drum is also called Suqian drum and prevails in Suqian, Xuzhou, Lianyungang and Huai'an city of Jiangsu province, as well as the northeast Anhui and south Shandong province. A Subei drum performance is staged by one performer in most cases and highlights storytelling with physical gestures supplemented by singing. Props for performance include a drum and two crescent steel accompaniment instruments.

"In my apprenticeship, I observed my teacher performing in the street market, and learned from him back at home in the evening, and the next day I would give the performance on my own in the street market,” Niu said. “The street markets were our primary stage. I usually wore the costumes, tapping to the rhythm with my left hand, and beating the drum with my right hand, talking and singing.”

Niu Chongxiang has recorded and published 34 books about Subei drum history. “Many of my books on Subei drum are based on the knowledge learned from the master,” he said. “Stories from real life are written to drum plays, from 10 to 40 stories, to let more hear them and appreciate the art.”

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