Wailing for a sense of belonging? Its the funeral performance industry where you pay for a heartfelt story.The idea is to guarantee a spectacle in grief and conjure up the necessary emotional charge to ensure a noisy and impassioned farewell. Professional wailers who are performers paid to present the eulogy at a funeral and lament the deceased through anguished songs. Wailing is an ancient Chinese funeral custom. But during Mao’s Cultural Revolution, and the great leap forward, wailing was perceived as a insidious feudal poison and was banned.Now, in the reform era of go-go capitalism, its seeing a revival. Although funeral wailing has existed in the backwoods of eastern Europe and Yugoslavia in the early twentieth-century, China is a rarity today…
…Wailers actually belong to an ancient profession that now keeps a low profile thanks to its singular characteristics. In Chongqing and Chengdu, wailers and their special bands have, over the course of more than a decade, developed into a professional, competitive market.
Studies show that wailers are predominantly laid-off workers. To support themselves, they rely on weeping and melancholy songs for their income. They and their bands believe that, like everyone else, they are engaging in a profession and performing a job. Read More:http://www.danwei.org/music/professional_mourners.php
In Chongqing, people call funeral performances “singing the banban” ; banban is the colloquial name for open-air mourning halls in Chongqing), which lends the industry its name … Hu Xinglian has been in the industry for fourteen years and has been a professional wailer for seven. In her rough estimation, Chongqing has nearly 2,000 similar bands, and practically all of them have a wailer….
…Hu says that for a wailer, sobbing, covering the face, and kneeling on the ground are all techniques to increase the effect of the performance.
She discovered this set of techniques after she entered the industry.
She used to be a shop assistant at a department store. She divorced in 1995 and had to take care of her college-aged son and her ailing parents. Her monthly income was less than 300 yuan. She worked as a sales clerk during the day, and at night she waited tables at a restaurant.
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