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Updated:2017-10-10 16:39:00

Xiaorehun is a bantering form of the Wu dialect of the Han ethnic group popular in Zhejiang, Jiangsu and Shanghai. Also known as Xiaoluoshu or “He Who Sells Ligaotang”( Ligaotang is a kind of dissert of Shanghai), Xiaorehun is a talking-singing street art. It was performed in Wu Chinese and started from the street. The art form started in late Qing Dynasty and early Republic of China and was introduced to Pinghu in the 1920s. Xiaorehun literally means that a man speaks nonsense while suffering from fever. So Xiaorehun means a performer talking absurdity. Xiaorehun was well received by the general public as the art spoke for the common concern of the general public and unveiled social ills in a sarcastic manner with most of its contents coming from latest news. In an effort to escape from persecution of reactionary authorities, the singing art was disguised into the local language of Jiayucun, or absurd talks.
Performed in authentic Hangzhou dialect, Xiaorehun is accompanied by small gong or Sanqiaoban with ordinary melodies. Popular tunes included Luoxianfeng, Sanqiaofu, Dongxiangdiao, Wugeng, Siji, Shitan, among others.
There was no fixed time slot for the performance of Xiaorehun. The singing in the east side will probably continue if people were showing no signs of leaving, though it was performed for over, say, 1 or 2 hours. Performers would probably leave the east side for the west when few were showing up. By the same token, there was no fixed performing site. It could be a busy street, a wharf, a station or a marketplace, where singers circled a site with white powder and beat hard gong and drum to attract people. Performances wouldn’t get started until there were enough people.
Xiaorehun was popular among the general public with its amusing language and it was easily understood. Among famous performers, there were Chen Zhangsheng, or Little Deli as his stage name, Chen Guoan, Xu Heqi, Yu Xiaofei. After the 1950s, Xiaorehun performers were seen as comedians, which bear on modern monodrama and farce, an easy art form prevalent in Shanghai Stage.
As part of strong national emphasis on the preservation of intangible cultural heritage, Hangzhou Xiaorehun was placed in the list of the state-level intangible cultural heritage in 2006, in addition to the protection list of Zhejiang Province Folk Art.



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