Popular variety show seeks to bring young people closer to China’s intangible cultural heritage
Published: Nov 03, 2020 10:18 AM

One scene of the reality show Sisters Who Make Waves Photo: IC

 A musical spin off of the hit reality show Sisters Who Make Waves aired its first episode on Friday. The new show aims to use star power to get young people in China more involved with China's intangible cultural heritage.

Similar to Sisters Who Make Waves, Lady Land sees female celebrities above the age of 30 travel to various cities throughout China to perform music. The seven performers for the show include Ning Jing and Zhang Yuqi, the winning contestants who formed a girl band at the end of the previous show. 

In the first episode, the group went to Quanzhou in East China's Fujian Province, where they experienced the intangible cultural heritage of Liyuan Opera. A traditional instrument in Liyuan Opera, jiaogu (lit: foot drum) captured the attention of cast member Zhang Yuqi, who tried to play the unusual instrument during the show.

Liyuan Opera is a unique local narrative singing tradition in Cantonese. A singer would be engaged for a single performance or for regular performances over an extended period of time. 

Singing is usually accompanied by musical instruments such as guzheng (bridged zither), yehu (coconut-shell bowed lute), or yangqin (hammered dulcimer), together with the percussion instrument ban (wooden clappers). The instruments are played either by the singer themselves or in duo with a fellow musician.

The related hashtag for the program has earned more than 700 million views as of Monday on China's Twitter-like Sina Weibo, demonstrating the show's ability to introduce more young people to traditional Chinese music. 

"I became a fan of Liyuan Opera after watching the variety show. The episode allowed me to feel the charm of traditional music. I suggest that other music variety shows have special performances for folk bands and invite groups from various regions to perform folk music," Feng Chang, one audience of the variety show, told the Global Times.

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