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Yicheng Hua Gu
The Flower Drum 花鼓 of southern Shanxi Province is a kind of folk dance popular in Yicheng County. The Yicheng Flower-Drum is also widely played in Hejin, Fushan, Jishan, Wanrong and Wenxi counties in southem Shanxi.
The Yicheng Flower Drum has a long history; according to historical records. It was already present in the Tang Dynasty (618-907). In the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), Yicheng hua gu (flower drum) was a routine performance during harvest celebrations and ancestor worship. After more than one thousand years it has not only developed into a unique folk dance, but has also spread to Inner Mongolia,Tianjin, Henan, and other provinces.
The Yicheng Flower Drum is famous for its wild movements, cheerful rhythm, and style. It is usually used while marching, sitting in a square, or during a stage performance. At every important celebration, performers either march or play the drums on the streets, or they perform in a public square in front of a large crowd.
The varieties of the Yicheng Flower Drum are comparatively simple. There is the flower drum, the da su drum, the dai gong, and the xiao zhan drum. A flower drummer is usually accompanied by a female singer and accompanying singers who sing local folk songs.
The tradition of playing the Yicheng Flower Drum has been passed down from generation to generation. It's closely intertwined with people's lives and work. It's a rare historical record for later generations to know the social development and history of Yicheng County. Meanwhile, it's an important musicology and folklore project. Therefore, further development and protection of the Yicheng Flower Drum tradition will play a positive role in enriching folk dance.