Yimakan performance takes both verse and prose forms, without instrumental accompaniment. [Photo/Xinhua]
Yimakan is a sort of musical narrative art of the Hezhe people in northeast China. The performance takes both verse and prose forms, without instrumental accompaniment. This unique art form plays a key role in preserving the Hezhe language, faith, folklore and customs.
The main content of Yimakan storytelling is many independent episodes depicting tribal alliances, battles and heroic stories.
Performers usually improvise the tales, alternate between singing and speaking, and use different melodies for different characters and plots.
The inheritance is in danger of disappearing. On November 23rd, 2011, at a UNESCO Conference in Bali, Hezhen Yimakan storytelling was inscribed on the List of Intangible Heritages in need of urgent safeguarding.