Elements of Intangible Cultural Heritage

    Cantonese Naamyam (Narrative Songs)

    Cantonese Naamyam (Narrative Songs) is popular in the Pearl River Delta region. It was originally performed by blind people in the form of storytelling and singing, gradually taking root in the community. During the 1950s, Cantonese Naamyam was broadcast by Macao’s Vilaverde radio station and Hong Kong Radio Television, with a single narrative song/story lasting months. This period also marked the most pervasive influence of Cantonese Naamyam. The broadcasting of Cantonese Naamyam was discontinued in Hong Kong and Macao in the 1960s, however, following the gradual Westernization of society.

    Cantonese Naamyam has a distinctive method of acquiring its notes and melodies, which can best convey the linguistic features of the Guangdong Pearl River Delta residents. Many of the representative works genuinely reflect the hopeless plight and unstable drifting life shared by the lower classes of society. Today, Cantonese Naamyam is rarely improvised by blind singers, and the form of long narration is no longer used; the unique regional characteristics and cultural and artistic values peculiar to Cantonese Naamyam, however, have received more widespread focus, understanding and recognition from people.

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