Singing to the People: Evolving Iconic Songs in Contemporary China

Colloquium | March 1 | 4-6 p.m. | 180 Doe Library

 Levi S. Gibbs, Assistant Professor of Asian and Middle Eastern Languages and Literatures, Dartmouth College

 Andrew Jones, Professor and Louis B. Agassiz Chair in Chinese, UC Berkeley

 Center for Chinese Studies (CCS)

In China and around the world, performances of songs can create virtual meeting grounds where different voices and perspectives engage with one another. In his new book about the rise of “Folksong King of Western China” Wang Xiangrong, Levi S. Gibbs explores parallels between the song culture of Wang’s childhood mountain village and his contemporary national and international performances where individual and collective voices interact. By tracing similarities in the evolution of iconic songs over time, we can begin to better understand how these songs act as public conversations that tie each performance event to a sense of historical continuity while at the same time finding new ground and new points of view.