In the scorching sun, the “Yuan River Boatmen Haozi” ballad was sung loudly by the boatmen working in the surging river. Recently, an ancient rafting scene reappeared in the Yuan River in Hunan’s Hongjiang ancient commercial city, also called China First Commercial City. A group of experienced boatmen whose upper bodies were bare were rowing the raft hard against the surging water while singing aloud the ancient haozi, performing the long lost “Yuan River Haozi”.
The thundering sound of the Haozi once drifted along the banks of the Yuan River, the third largest tributary of the Yangtze River, but has been endangered since 1980’s due to the decline of water transportation. In recent years, the Hongjiang Region in Huaihua City called up and organized tens of long laid-off boatmen, and arranged for the “Yuan River Haozi” and had it spread among the public in order to inherit this intangible cultural heritage. Additionally, the activity of hewing bamboos, cutting bamboo strips, tying the rope, and tying rafts won the strong support of the old boatmen and the local people.
Boatmen sing the Haozi (Labor Songs) while arranging the wooden boat by the Yuan River.
Translator: Cui Yiyang
Source: Hunan Official Web Portal