UBC Community, Partners, and Alumni Publications

Hong Kong’s Folk Music and Local Culture : The Art of a Cantonese Blind Singer Yung, Bell


In 1926, the blind singer Dou Wun arrived in Hong Kong from Guangzhou at the age of sixteen. For fifty years, he sang professionally in brothels, opium dens, teahouses, a radio station, private homes, and, when destitute, on street corners. In 1975, I arranged for him to sing for three-and-a-half months in the Fu Lung Teahouse in Sheung Wan. In this presentation, I will show images of Dou Wun, Hong Kong, and the Fu Lung Teahouse, and I will play the historical recordings of three kinds of songs Dou sang: Naamyam 南音 (“Southern Tone” Song), Lungzau 龍舟 (Beggar Song), and Baan’ngaan 板眼 (Brothel Song)—songs that had been widely heard in Cantonese-speaking communities around the Pearl River Delta but have long since disappeared.

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