The 5,000 Namyi speak a Qiangic language, are classified as Tibetan, and mostly live in Liangshan Yi Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan Province, PR China. The first eleven audio tracks presented here include (1) a creation account, (2) a story of family clan formation, (3) a Namyi hero, (4) a religious specialist, (5) a story of seven daughters' adventures, (6) 'The Puppy and the Boy', (7) a tragedy involving a brother and a sister, (8) a hunting story, (9) a story of how people came to use tobacco, (10) two sisters' adventures with a monster, and (11) a story about a rabbit father-in-law and an orphan.
The original materials were collected from Namyi tellers in Zhequ (Chinese: Dashui) Village and Mu'er Village, Lianhe Township, Mianning County. Libu Lakhi (Zla ba bstan 'dzin, Dawa Tenzin, Li Jianfu, Zachary) transcribed the original material into IPA and rerecorded the material, which is presented here. See Libu Lakhi, Brook Hefright, and Kevin Stuart. 2007. 'The Namuyi: Linguistic and Cultural Features.' (Asian Folklore Studies 66: 233-253, PDF available here) for an introduction to the Namyi. For a transcript of these audio materials, see Libu Lakhi, et. al. 2008. Asian Highlands’ Perspectives (forthcoming).
Tracks twelve to forty-three were recorded by Libu Lakhi in 2003 from Namyi living in Dashui Village and consist of madami songs, engagement chants, and flute music.
Madami are sung when relatives and friends gather after a period of separation. The improvised lyrics may be sad or happy, but stay within an established melody. Engagement chants are orated prior to a wedding. Traditionally, a boy and girl might be engaged by their parents between the age of five and fifteen. Following the agreement, an engagement party takes place at the girl's or boy's family home. Engagement speeches are usually given by the fathers of the bride- and groom-to-be, though sometimes by other male elders. Songs are also sung at the engagement party, while elder villagers drink liquor. At this and other such parties, young people are likely to participate in circle dancing while elders are enmeshed in talking and drinking. The circle dance is lead by a flute player, who must play continuously until people stop dancing.
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