The Yangtze, Asia’s longest river, flows through China’s wealthiest region, the lower delta, which includes the metropolis of Shanghai. Sadly, the unique traditional cultures and epic folk songs of this region have all but succumbed to the relentless march of modernization and cultural homogenisation. What are the stories behind the region’s longform folk songs, and how are they passed down? How do today’s people in the region regard this cultural legacy, and what’s being done to save the songs of Shanghai’s hinterland? Sinologist Professor Anne McLaren, who has researched the region over decades, joins presenter Ali Moore to explore the lower Yangtze’s unique cultural heritage.
Main image: Professor Anne McLaren. Listing image: Canals in the city of Suzhou. Credit: _ChrisUK/Flickr.