Li Jinhui

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Li Jinhui

Li Jinhui (黎锦辉) was a composer and songwriter born in Xiangtan, China in 1891. He is the "Father of Chinese popular music"[1][2]. He is most notable for creating a new musical form with shidaiqu after the fall of the Qing Dynasty-- moving away from established musical forms.

Contents

Early years

One of the earliest instrument he studied was the guqin plucked string instruments during his childhood. He mainly drew his earliest musical influences from his hunan province hometown. He was inspired by local Chinese opera and Huagu flower drums (花鼓戏 huāgǔxì) which are performed over a stage theatre monologue[3]. Because of this, it can be said that the very first inspiration of Chinese popular music are derived from these forms.

From 1916 to 1926 he was participating in mandarin textbook publishing for children. He wrote his first musical, and allowed his daughter Li Minghui (黎明晖 Lí Mínghuī) to perform. In total he has 8 brothers[4]. Some of the operas include The Sparrow and the Child and The Little Painter.

Career

In 1927 he organized the "Chinese Dance School" (中华歌舞学校 Zhōnghuá gēwǔ xuéxiào) and then the "Chinese Song and Dance Troupe" (中华歌舞团 Zhōnghuá gēwǔtuán)[3].

His greatest source of Jazz influence would come from American Buck Clayton who worked with Li for two years[5]. Clayton played a major role in shaping the musical scores written by Li.

In 1929 he organized the Bright Moonlight Song and Dance Troupe and toured around the country[3]. The tour began mostly as political squeeze due to the National Revolutionary Army during the Northern Expedition. When he was situated at Singapore, that was when his "period song" compositions began. The style would have some western influence and it moved Chinese music to a new direction[4]. Those period songs would then be labeled as shidaiqu.

In 1931 it merged into the Lianhua China Film Company. This troupe also produced several musicals figures such as Zhou Xuan, who was groomed until Li's mastery[6]. She would later become one of the Seven great singing stars of the Republic of China.

In 1949 he was a composer for the Shanghai Animation Film Studio.[2] Li would eventually pay dearly for his fame. Classified as a founder of Yellow Music by the Communist Party of China, he became a victim of political persecution during the Cultural Revolution[5].

Legacy

In his life time, critics derided his work as "Yellow Music" because of its sexual associations. His work was labeled pornographic and was accepted only by select groups. His music movement would later grow into the cantopop and mandopop phenomenon, which became the main genre of music in Hong Kong and Taiwan respectively in the 20th century.


References

  1. Baranovitch, Nimrod. [2003] (2003). China's New Voices: Popular Music, Ethnicity, Gender and Politics, 1978-1997. University of California Press. ISBN 0520234502
  2. 2.0 2.1 Aigomusic. "Aigomusic." Shanghai introduction. Retrieved on 2007-04-30.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Aigomusic. "Aigomusic." Li Jinhui. Retrieved on 2007-04-30.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Chinabook gov. "Chinabook." Era of change. Retrieved on 2007-04-30.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Jones. Andrew F. [2001] (2001). Yellow Music - CL: Media Culture and Colonial Modernity in the Chinese Jazz Age. Duke University Press. ISBN 0822326949
  6. Broughton, Simon. Ellingham, Mark. Trillo, Richard. [2000] (2000) World Music: The Rough Guide. Rough Guides Publishing Company. ISBN 1858286360

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