bookcover In 1997 the CHIME Foundation started the publication of a book series, Chime Studies in East Asian Music. There are now two volumes available:

Chinese Folk Songs and Folk Singers - Shan'ge Traditions in Southern Jiangsu.

by Antoinet Schimmelpenninck

Chime Studies in East Asian Music, Vol. 1. Series Editor: Frank Kouwenhoven. Chime, Leiden, 1997. xvi + 445 pp., many photographs, song texts, music exs., bibliog., index, gloss. + CD with original field recordings.

'Significant... a landmark book' (ICTM Yearbook for Traditional Music)

'A major study... Fascinating... a remarkable feat.' (The World of Music)

Despite its central place in China's popular culture, Chinese folk song is a neglected field of study among Western researchers. This book is a broad introduction to shan'ge, the most popular type of rural song, and to the master performers, the 'kings' and 'queens' of this genre. From 1986 to 1992, the author and her companion Frank Kouwenhoven carried out extensive field research on these folk songs and folk singers in southern Jiangsu (near Shanghai).
In folk mythology, the master shan'ge singer is a carefree person who is able to perform magic, who likes to seduce women, who is not afraid to play tricks on the gods - although he always loses to them in the end - and who loves to sing naughty songs. In daily reality, shan'ge singers in China may not be too far removed from this stereotype!
A major focus of this study is monothematism: the existence of 'one-tune' folk song areas, where singers perform the bulk of their lyrics to a single tune or to two or three closely related tune forms. Monothematism, arguably one of the most intriguing aspects of shan'ge culture, is examined here in relation to tune variation, processes of remembering and mechanisms of oral transmission.

Price: EUR 35
Postage (priority mail): add EUR 10 (inside Europe), or EUR 20 (outside Europe).

(for details on how to pay: see below)

Now available from CHIME:

Plucking the winds - Lives of village musicians in old and new China

by Stephen Jones

Chime Studies in East Asian Music, Vol. 2. Series Editor: Frank Kouwenhoven. Chime, Leiden, 2004. x + 426 pp., more than 100 b/w photographs, music exs., bibliog., index. with gloss. + CD with original field recordings.

This book tells the story of 20th-century China through the eyes of local village musicians in North China, and shows the resilience of their ritual traditions under all kinds of onslaughts. Based on extensive fieldwork since 1989, the book portrays the lives of members of a village "Music Association", an amateur group performing solemn music for wind and percussion instruments as well as mantric vocal liturgy, serving funerals and the rituals of the Chinese New Year. The villagers have maintained their ritual traditions amidst massacre, invasion, civil war, political campaigns, and theft. The account conveys the "spit and sawdust" which are the tribulations and delights of fieldwork in rural China. In a community whose history might seem to have been erased under Maoism, the account becomes a kind of detective story.
The book looks beyond cosy and rosy images of modernizing ideology to the realities of local survival, showing the sheer stoic humanity of village musicians determined to preserve their heritage even as they participate in the constant transformation of their social environment. The account is further enlivened by a CD and many photographs.

Price: EUR 39.
Postage (priority mail): add EUR 10 for Europe, or EUR 20 for rest of world.

How to pay
Book(s) + postage are payable to Chime, Leiden by bank transfer. Bank transfers should be made in Euro to CHIME, giro acc. no. 6255037 c/o CHIME, P.O.Box 11092, 2301 EB Leiden, The Netherlands. Postbank address: Postbox 1800, 1000 BV Amsterdam. Swift code: PSTBNL21. Our IBAN NR (International Bank Account Number): NL29PSTB0006255037. We would appreciate it if you could make it a 'no cost for receiver' transfer.

Readers in the UK can also pay by cheque written in GBP (British Pounds), made payable to F. Kouwenhoven, Vliet 35, Leiden. Readers in the USA (and elsewhere) can also pay by cheque written in USD (US Dollars), made payable to A. Schimmelpenninck, Gerecht 1, 2311 TC, Leiden. Do not forget to convert Euros to Dollars / Pounds and to add postage. PLEASE DO NOT MAKE YOUR USD OR GBP CHEQUES PAYABLE TO CHIME !!! Cheques should be sent to our Leiden office.

Booksellers and Agents: please contact our office for special discount rates.