An Ancient Folk Song

May 23rd 2023
Field recording
Wisdom Keepers

This is an ancient folk song played and sung by the Lisu people along the Nujiang basin, sung by the villagers

The lyrics tell the story of the crisis that the Lisu people encountered in planting crops in their environment, and how they turned the crisis into happiness, and we learned about the past natural and economic environment.
That afternoon, the villagers repaired the water pipes on their own initiative, and they got together for dinner after the repairing as well as sung together.


Three pumpkins were planted on the east bank of the Nu River
Three cucumbers were planted on the west bank of the Nu River 
Planted three pumpkins
Planted three cucumbers
The seeds were stolen by the crows
The seeds were dug up by mice to eat
Take out the crossbow that drives the crows
Also take out the mouse clip
Killed the crow
Trapped the mouse
Peeled the skin of a crow
Peeled the mouse skin
Pick up the peeled skin and sell it to Dengva*
Pick up the peeled skin and sell it in Waba*
I won't exchange anything they give me
Only if they give me one flower cattle 
Leading the flower cattle on the way home
There were sounds from the west bank
there were sounds from the east bank
Lock the cow in the cowshed
Have a happy life
Have a good life

*Dengwa is a Lisu name of Tengchong county.
*Waba is a Lisu name of today's Lanping county.
There was no big market in Nujiang so the Lisu people had to go to the other places to sell leathers.