Settle in for a Long Long Song

Naamyam is a traditional Cantonese form of improvised, performed poetry. A single vocal performer, perhaps accompanied by an instrument such as a guzheng (bridged zither), vehu (cocunt-shell bowed lute) or vangqin (hammered dulcimer) and percussion instruments called ban (wooden clappers), will sing an epic poetic song, often about lost love. The song may be short — a mere twenty minutes — or long — hundreds of thousands of verses with a performance lasting hundreds of hours. The Naamyam in this video? Just a tiny taste for less than two minutes.

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