"Northern Opera and Southern Song" on Hainan Island

By / / Updated: 2019-12-20,11:28

Hainan has the saying "Northern Opera Southern Song", the Northern Opera refers to the Qiong Opera in the north of the island, the Southern Song refers to the Yazhou folk songs in the south of Hainan.

In all seasons, the weather in the north of Hainan Island is relatively colder than in the south. Singying songs can be easy;and performing opera requires stage and costume, so that the northern part of the island is more suitable for the opera.This is one of the reason for saying "Northern Opera and Southern Song".

The performing of Qiong Opera requires stage, props, bands, make-up and some stylized things. Yazhou folk songs are not subject to stage, place and time. One person can sing, a group can sing, and everyone can sing under the tree or under the eaves. They can also sing by setting up the stage.

The folk songs of Yazhou can be free to sing, and become a kind of lyrical and entertaining way that the islanders in the southern part of Hainan Island are particularly fond of. The songs can drive away loneliness, bitterness,fatigue, and create joy.

"Northern opera" has a right time and place

In ancient times, the people had inconvenient traffic. Most of the manpower, material and other good resources that entered Hainan Island from the mainland were concentrated in the northern part of the island. The economy of the northern part of the island is relatively developed. Naturally,it can enjoy the advantage of being in a favourable position. The hardware and software required for Qiong Opera are not difficult to obtain. The prosperity of Qiong Opera in the north would take the lead.

The opera introduced to Hainan belongs to one of the operas in the Song and Yuan dynasties.In particular, Liyuan Opera, Gao Jia Opera from Southern Fujian and Zhengyin Opera and Chao Opera from East Guangdong were widely known as "Huguang Opera" at that time.

After the middle of Ming Dynasty, more and more merchants from Fujian and Guangdong came to Hainan Island. In order to protect the safety of business and trade, they always felt that what was missing on Hainan Island, they invited the gods of their hometown to Hainan. During the birthday of the gods, the rich persons asked the troupe in his hometown to come to Hainan Island to perform on stage. This gave the gods and local people a big favor, bringing fresh entertainment to the local area. Their business seemed to have a strong protection from the gods, thus gaining psychological comfort.

In the Ming Dynasty,the emperor was beyond his reach for Haikou.Restrictions on various operations on the sea were relatively loose, the commercial atmosphere was strong, and the entertainment industry was lively. As a poem says:"The vast majority of ships were parked in Baishajin,Huguang dramas were often sung all night long." Most of the Han Chinese in Hainan were from southern Fujian and eastern Guangdong. It was not easy for the merchants to return to their hometowns. They were more willing to hear the voice of their hometowns in the local area. Therefore,theatrical performances from their hometowns were very popular. The artists from other areas not only perform acting, but also set up classes and teach performances. The earliest dramas in Hainan gradually appeared.

The dialect of the northern part and southern part of the island belong to the Hainan dialect of the Minnan(southern Fujian) language family, but the Hainan dialect of the northern part is a little different from the Hainan dialect of the southern part. The Hainan dialect of southern part is more uniquely identified. The identification system is difficult to understand for the people outside the region, and it is not so easy to talk about. The Hainan dialect of the northern part is generally accepted and spoken by the cities and counties in the north of the island,it is roughly the same, and the differences are more reflected in the tone. Therefore, the singing of Qiong Opera is common to the northern part of the island, and there are no obvious obstacles.

Perhaps it is not difficult for Yazhou people to learn Qiong opera, but it is not so convenient for the the northern part people of the island to learn the Yazhou folk songs. These differences have resulted in two forms of artistic performance: one area mainly performing Qiong Opera, and the other mainly singing folk songs.

"Southern Song" is not so much stressful

Relatively speaking, there are many songs in the south and west, and much more Qiong Opera performing in the north and east of Hainan Island. There are traces of spring, summer, autumn and winter alternation in the northern part of Hainan.The performance of Qiong Opera is exquisite in costumes. Except for the hot summer season, there is no serious problem in wearing costumes in the north of the island.

The seasons of the southern part on the island are always hot just like the summer. If you want to perform the Qiong Opera seriously, to be the “emperor” would be wearing too much. Even if you play “maid”, at least you have to wear long sleeves,and inevitably sweating. Singing is not so particular, just to be comfortable and happy. The prosperity of southern folk songs is not surprising.

The most humble stage of Qiong Opera has at least one pile of earth and stone. If you ask for more,you should have a courtyard,and there is a stage in it. If the stage is in the theater,it means that the performers can enter the noble hall. There are not so many routines in Yazhou folk songs. It seems to be more suitable for singing in the breeze of the wilderness.It even means that”where there is a song there is a stage”. In the village entrance,under the tree or at home, the villagers have a strong interest to sing with their relatives and friends.Lively music and impromptu lyrics make people happy in entertainment.

There are many mountains in Sanya and Ledong, and flat places are also common. Most of the local villages are built along the foothills which are suitable for reclamation. Although a bit dry, the land is still fertile, houses next to each other, no shortage of entertainment space. The villagers usually plant sour trees and jackfruit trees in the front yard of the house. Mango trees and banana trees are the harmonious scenery between man and nature. They have created a good communication space for the inheritance and development of traditional culture such as Yazhou folk songs. They also created conditions to appreciate each other for their songs. The villagers met in the field, on the land, at the village market, or at a courtyard, they can improvise and sing, and express their enthusiasm.

The geographical location and tropical climate of Hainan Island are special. During the Spring Festival, it is a good time for the islanders to relax, but for Hainan, is a busy season for spring planting. During the spring ploughing, the villagers worked in the fields at the end of the field. When they were exhausted, they needed to seek happiness in hardships, and fill the spiritual world. The inspiration for poetry writing was raging, the Yazhou folk songs sang between the blue sky and the white clouds.

The Yazhou folk songs are closely related to the lives of the people. "Tianya  Chinese Text" has such a statement: Zhang Yuanlai, the chairman of Sanya Yazhou Folk Song Association, also sang the Yazhou folk songs when cooking at home, the melody of folk songs and the pots and pans played together. Even he went up the mountain to cut wood,he could sing folk songs when he was bored,and feel particularly enjoyable after singing.

Zhang Yuanlai also raised the hobby of Yazhou folk songs to the way of health. He said that he wants to live longer, sing a Yazhou folk song, and eat a bowl of Gangmen rice noodle to keep healthy. He used to think that jogging is the best way to exercise. Now, it is found that singing is a good way to prolong life.

Perhaps, the performance of the Qiong opera made the audience more passively accepted and less creative; actively compose and sing folk songs can mobilize one's more potential.

The Yazhou poems are often lyrics, and the lyrics are poetry. The probability of being modified and second-time creation is high. For example, the lyrics are like this: "The young man sighs without knowing the hardship, life is not as good as the spring breeze, spring returns next spring, and the old people are not young again." The lyrics so deduced can make the singer realize that life is impermanent and time goes. The principle of non-return for life is profound but easy to understand.

For a long time, Ledong county has many cultural celebrities, and it must have benefited from the scent and revelation of Yazhou folk songs.

Yazhou folk songs have strong accents

The Yazhou folk songs use the unique southern "guest dialect" on the island, "unique" is not bad, but it is not conducive to widespread dissemination.

Many scholars believe that the Yazhou folk songs originated in the Song Dynasty. The Song Dynasty was a watershed for Hainan immigrants, that is, the Han people began to land in large numbers on the island. It is in this context that the Yazhou folk songs are born, that is, the folk songs need to have the premise of "dialects", or a large ethnic group that needs to speak this dialect.

The appearance of the "guest dialect" is used to some extent to defend and identify each other. The Yazhou "Guest dialect" is a natural musical language with humorous and musical feelings. Yazhou folk songs have the characteristics of local  dialects.

"Yazhou Chronicle" records: "There are six kinds of Yazhou language, Jun, Mai, Hakka, Fanyu, Danyu and Liyu", among which "Guest dialect" is similar to the Minnan voice, like the dialect of "Yongning Li, Lin Chuanli, Baopingli and Xiliuli”, the same as the county dialect. The "guest dialect" mentioned here is the dialect used to sing the folk songs of Yazhou. It is also a representative dialect of the ancient Yazhou.

The rules for ethnic migration are usually the first to be the “host”and the latter to be the”guest”. The singers of Yazhou folk songs often use the "guest dialect", which infers that they are the "post-entertainers" of Yazhou land. When they first arrive, there will be more grief and sorrow in the "extraordinary strange land". This kind of emotion is not difficult to find the imprint in the lyrics and tune of the Yazhou folk songs.

The southern and western parts of the island are often the first choice for derogatory officials’s exiles, but such "arrangements" also give derogatory officials a valuable cultural luster to the local people. Su Dongpo shines in the west of Danzhou, and Yazhou once left the footprints and poetic influences of of derogatory officials such as Lu Duoxun,the prime minister of the Northern Song Dynasty.The roots of Yazhou folk songs must be related to this.

The Song Dynasty was the most immigrant period in the history of Yazhou. Later, the arrival of derogatory officials and a large number of immigrants also brought excellent cultures from different regions of Central Plains. A variety of outstanding talents and advanced culture gathered in Yazhou, achieving the literacy accumulation of Yazhou's Chinese poetry.The wisdom of Yazhou folk songs has also been sublimated.

In the past,the environment created by Yazhou folk songs was relatively closed. Hainan Island was separated by the strait and there were few opportunities for frequent contact with the outside world. Therefore, the evolution of Yazhou folk songs has always been authentic, without losing the original intention, and the songs always sung in the "guest dialect" from southern Fujian. Adhering to the historical customs and cultural heritage of the Han nationality along the coast of the southern part in Hainan, the songs have relative uniqueness and high recognition. Yazhou people who are deeply influenced by the Yazhou folk songs have special innate feeling for their songs. In the passage of time, the people tasing and singing folk songs of Yazhou have become an important medium for them to return homes, visit the homeland,relish the nostalgia and recall the past in the southern part of Hainan.

  海南有“北剧南歌”的说法。北剧,指的是琼北地区的琼剧;南歌,指的是琼南地区的崖州民歌。

  以一年四季来看,海南岛的北部的天气相对比南部寒凉。唱歌可随意,戏需舞台和装束的行头,所以海岛的北部更适宜于戏。这是造成“北剧南歌”其中缘由。

  琼剧的演绎需要舞台、道具、乐队、化妆和一些程式化的东西,而崖州民歌不受舞台、地点和时间约束,一个人可以唱,一群人也可以唱;在树下或屋檐下可以唱,搭起戏台也可以唱。

  崖州民歌能随时随地张口而歌,成了海南岛南部岛民格外喜爱的一种抒情和娱乐的方式,可驱赶孤独寂寞、愁苦和劳累,富有情趣。

  “北剧”有天时地利之便

  古时候交通不便,大多从内地进入海南岛的人力、物力和其他美好资源都首先集中于海岛的北部。海岛北部经济较为发达,自然是“近水楼台先得月”,琼剧所需的硬件和软件都不难获得,琼剧在北部的兴盛便占先机。

  传入海南的戏曲,属于宋元南戏的其中剧种。特别是来自闽南的梨园戏、高甲戏和来自粤东的正音戏、潮剧等,当时被人们泛称为“湖广戏”的影响最大。

  明中叶以后,来海南岛的福建和广东的客商越来越多,为了保护商业和贸易的平安,他们总觉得海南岛缺了什么,便将家乡的神灵请来海南,并在神灵的诞辰期间请家乡的戏班来海南岛搭台演出,如此一来给了故乡的神和人很大的面子,给当地带来新鲜的娱乐方式,自己的生意似乎也有了神灵的强有力保护,从而获得心理慰藉。

  明代的海口,天高皇帝远,海上各种经营受到的禁锢相对松动,商业气氛浓厚,娱乐业热闹,正如一首诗歌所言:“闽广大船停泊白沙津,常有湖广剧演唱,通宵达旦”。海南汉人多来自闽南和粤东,回乡不易,更乐于在本土听到“家乡的声音”,因此,戏剧来自其家乡的演出很受欢迎。外来的艺人不仅演戏,还开班设馆,传授演出技艺,海南最早的戏剧传人渐渐出现。

  琼北的方言和琼南的方言都属于闽南语系的海南话,但琼北的海南话,与琼南崖州的海南话,还是有差别的,琼南崖州的海南话更具独特的识别体系,该区域外的人们很难听懂,讲就更难。琼北的海南话则被海岛北部各市县普遍接受和使用,琼北海南话大致相同,不同之处更多地体现于语调,所以琼剧的演唱在琼北是通行的,没有明显障碍。

  或许,琼南崖州人要学琼剧不难,琼北人要学崖州民歌就不那么容易。这些个差别,最终产生了两种艺术表演形式:一个区域主要唱琼剧,另一个地方主要唱民歌。

  “南歌”没那么多讲究

  相对而言,海南岛的南部和西部“歌”多,北部和东部则琼剧盛行。海南的北部多少有春夏秋冬交替的痕迹,琼剧的表演有服饰的讲究,除开炎热的夏季,海岛北部穿古装演出并无大碍。

  海岛南部常年如夏,若要正而八经地上演琼剧,莫说帝王将相、才子佳人的穿戴,就是丫鬟的简单穿着至少得长袖吧,一场戏下来,免不了大汗淋漓。唱歌没了这么多讲究,怎么舒坦怎么来,海岛南部民歌兴盛便不足为奇。

  琼剧最不济的戏台至少得有个土石堆,讲究起来得有“院”,戏台设在院中,戏院里上演琼剧就是登堂入室了。崖州民歌没有那么多套路,似乎更适合旷野凉风习习时演唱,做到“有歌即为舞台”,村落中或树下,村口或家院内,村民们有了兴致就与亲友乡邻唱上几曲,生动乐曲和即兴创造的歌词让人们在娱乐中愉悦。

  三亚、乐东一带山不少,平坦之地也常见。当地村落民户大多沿适宜开垦种植的山脚平地而建,虽有些旱,土地却还肥沃,家家院落挨着,不乏娱乐空间,村民们通常在家门前院落种有酸豆树、菠萝蜜树、芒果树、香蕉树……是人与自然的和谐美景,为崖州民歌等传统文化传承发扬创造了良好的交流空间,也为村民们共赏崖州民歌创造了条件,村民们不论相逢于田间地头、村口集市,还是家中院落,都可以即兴咏唱,畅快地抒情明志。

  海南岛的地理位置和热带气候有些特别,春节期间是内地人休闲的好时光,海南却是春耕播种繁忙时节。春耕期间,村民在田头地尾劳作,疲惫之余需苦中作乐,更需精神世界的充盈,诗文写作的灵感反而泉涌,崖州民歌便唱响在蓝天白云和阡陌之间。

  崖州民歌可随性演唱与百姓生活密切关联。《天涯华文》上看到这样的记述:三亚崖州民歌协会会长张远来在家做饭炒菜时,也唱崖州民歌,民歌的音律和锅碗瓢盆一起奏起交响乐曲;甚至他上山砍柴,觉得无聊就一边砍柴,一边唱民歌,觉得格外享受。

  张远来还将对崖州民歌的爱好上升为养生之道。他说想要长寿,唱上一首崖州民歌,吃上一碗港门粉,保你身心舒畅。以前他觉得慢跑是最好的锻炼身体的方法,现在发现,唱歌才是延年益寿的好方法。

  或许,琼剧的演出让观众被动接受的多,主动的创作的少。主动创作和演唱民歌能调动一个人更多的潜能。

  崖州民歌往往诗词就是歌词,歌词就是诗词,被变通和二度创作的概率高。比如这样的歌词:“少年不知自叹言,人生比不得春风;春去明年春又回,人老并无幼还逢。”如此演绎的歌词能让歌者从中领悟到人生无常、人生时光一去不复返的道理,寓意深刻却通俗易懂。

  长期以来,乐东出了不少文化名人,想必得益于崖州民歌的熏染和启示。

  崖州民歌乡音浓重

  崖州民歌使用的是独特的琼南“客语”,“独树一帜”不错,却也不利于广泛传播。

  许多学者都认为崖州民歌起源于宋代。宋代是海南移民的一个分水岭,即汉族开始大量登陆海岛。崖州民歌正是在这样的背景下产生,即民歌需要有“方言”的前提,或者说,需要说这个方言的一个大的族群。

  “客语”方言的出现一定程度上是用来设防、用来辨识各自身份。崖州“客语”方言是天生的音乐语言,言语间风趣幽默,颇有乐感。崖州民歌具有语言入俗、乡音浓重的特点。

  《崖州志》记载:“崖语有六种,军语、迈语、客语、番语、儋语、黎语”,其中的“客语”,与闽音相似,“永宁里、临川里、保平里及西六里言之。与郡语同”。这里所说的“客语”,就是用于咏唱崖州民歌的汉语方言,同时也是当时古崖州民间具有代表性的语言。

  族群迁徙的规矩通常是先来者为“主”,后到者为“客”。崖州民歌的歌者多用“客语”,由此推断,他们是崖州土地的“后到者”。初来乍到时,会有更多“独在异乡为异客”的悲戚感慨,这种感慨不难在崖州民歌的歌词和曲调中找到印记。

  海岛的南部和西部往往是贬官流放的首选地,但这样的“安排”也让贬官给当地的人们带来宝贵的文化光泽,苏东坡光耀西部儋州,崖州曾经留下北宋宰相卢多逊等贬官的足迹和诗文影响,崖州民歌的生根发芽与此必有渊源。

  宋代是历史上崖州移民最多的时期,后来贬官的到来和大量移民也带来中原不同地区的优秀文化,各种各样的优秀人才和先进文化聚集在崖州,成就了崖州汉语诗文素养的积淀,崖州民歌智慧也得以升华。

在过去,崖州民歌产生的环境相对封闭,海南岛因海峡相隔,同外界频繁接触的机会甚少,如此,崖州民歌的演化过程反而一直原汁原味,不失初衷,且始终以崖州闽南方言传唱,秉承海南琼南沿海一带汉族居民的历史风情与文化底蕴,具有相对的独特性和极高的辨识度,因此深受崖州民歌影响的崖州人,对崖州民歌有着与生俱来的特殊情结。时光的流变中,品味和吟唱崖州民歌,成为琼岛南部在外游子回归家园、寻访故土、回味乡情和回忆往事的重要媒介。

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