“Hawfwen”, a traditional gathering that once-popular where the Zhuang people sing folk songs. It often takes place around the clan temples or under the old trees. Singers are divided into male and female groups. They improvised their lyrics to sing in correspondence with one another.
Traveling along with the songs in antiphonal style, the camera has found different singers and gatherings, lingered in the rural areas and urban cities, trying to find the broken echo of “hawfwen”.
Yang Xiao, born in Guilin, Guangxi in 1989, graduated from Shanghai University in 2017 and now lives in Shanghai. As an assistant director and storyboard artist, he participated in the production of THE WILD GOOSE LAKE and KAILI BLUES and engaged in film editing and art critics writing. His works have been exhibited in many international film festivals, including Paris, Tours, Hawaii, Washington, Orlando, Busan, Delhi, Hanoi, Kuala Lumpur, etc.
The Guangxi Zhuang folksongs are mostly presented in state media’s tourist propaganda campaign. The singers look supple and graceful, they dress in minority costumes, whereas the only chanting we hear is Folk Songs Like the Spring River (Shan Ge Hao Bi Chun Jiang Shui). This kind of representation dominates Guangxi’s political-economic sphere and vice versa. The existing cultural sphere reinforces this stereotype of Zhuang’s folksong by constantly producing such self-othering images. It is such a prevalent cultural hegemony that accelerates the shattering of Zhuang people’s country life. THE MOUNTAINS SING goes against this kind of fictionalization.