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‘Guitar village’ in rural Yunnan sings for its supper

Singing to the guitar was once a fun way for people in the destitute village of Laodabao to relax, but their shared hobby is now helping them sing their way out of poverty.

Laodabao in mountainous Lancang County of southwest China’s Yunnan Province is home to over 400 villagers from the Lahu ethnic group. In past decades, starved villagers would search the mountains for anything edible to survive — wild vegetables, flower, and fruits. In their homes, made of thatch or bamboo, the villagers would burn turpentine for light, and their homes often caught fire. However, poverty did not stop the villagers singing and dancing. Almost all are able to play guitar. Li Shikai is now in his 50s. Over 30 years ago he sold a pig for 60 yuan so he could buy a guitar, which he soon introduced to the village. “Gradually over half the villagers learnt to play,” he says.

“I never get tired of rehearsing,” says Napo, a local soprano. “We really enjoy singing and dancing. It brings us money now. My husband and I make more than 5,000 yuan every year merely by performing.”

Source: Shanghai Daily
Published: 8 March 2017

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