mpression Liu Sanjie is a musical night show, actually performed on the Li River in Yangshuo.
The cast are local Zhuang minority villagers and bamboo-raft-men, and it is one of the creations of famous Chinese Director Zhang Yimou. This colorful and musically glorious extravaganza, uses songs, imagery, colorful lighting and costumes, booming music and local faces, to bring to life the celebrated and moving legend of the Song Fairy, Liu’s Third Daughter.
There will be no performances of Impression Liu Sanjie between December 26, 2011 and January 25, 2012.
Liu Sanjie, the Movie
A 1960’s movie musical, which has been televised and shown all over China, first made famous the legend of Liu Sanjie. It remains as popular as ever, especially among the minorities of the south, whose fairytale heroine she is. This, other local minority singing, and the acclaimed Yangshuo landscape is probably what inspired Zhang Yimou’s Production.
The Legend of Liu Sanjie
Liu Sanjie (刘三姐 /lyoh san-jyeah/ “the Third Liu Daughter”) is a legendary Zhuang girl with the ability to sing a reply that no-one could match. She has been dubbed the Song Fairy because of this seemingly supernatural gift, and her statue features in the annual Zhuang Song Festival.
Liu Sanjie was, as the story goes, the third-born daughter of a man surnamed Liu, who lived centuries ago (in the Tang Dynasty: 618–907) in Guangxi Province. She became known for her singing as various dignified local oppressors came to her village and were left speechless and defeated by her tuneful and witty songs.
The legend goes that she was wooed by a boy named A Niu (阿牛 /ah-nyoh/ “Bull”), who sung replies to her songs at the Big Banyan Tree in Yangshuo County. As is custom, Liu Sanjie gave A Niu an embroidered ball to signify she liked him and he could pursue her. A Niu promptly tossed the ball across the river and high onto a rock the other side, where nobody could reach it and it would stay as an everlasting reminder of their love.
This love story has a happy ending, as most fairy tales do. The two singing villagers fell in love and lived happily ever after, blissfully unaware of the impact they would have on Chinese culture and international tourism!
Liu Sanjie Worship
Local idol and ancestor worship have, in some places, incorporated this legendary girl and her image in their offerings of incense, food, drink, bowing and prayer, and she has assumed godlike status. She is generally idolized by the minorities for embodying the dignity of the simple peasant, a charming victory over tyranny, and for their love of singing and a good romance.