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Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Hmong Raj Nplaim

Ger Xiong (Tooj Ntxawg Xyooj) performs on the raj hliav ncauj in a clip from "Speaking Musically," a 2001 documentary about traditional Hmong music.

The raj hliav ncauj is a flute similar in design to a recorder. Other names for similar instruments include: raj ntsia and raj pum liv. Some people use the words interchangeably, while other use only one or two of the terms.

In this performance, Ger plays in a variety styles and scales or what are called suab. With the exception of opening and concluding melodic formulas, the pitches of the melody communicate words. For the most part, one equals one word (Hmong is basically a monosyllabic language). The shape and rhythm of the melody follows the word tones and rhythm of the words Ger is saying through the instrument.

The words in this performance are based on typical expressions of loss and loneliness common to a variety of Hmong verbal arts. Ger combines these phrases extemporaneously, based on what he wants to say at the moment, creating long strings of ideas that flow together over the course of the performance.

Raj nplaim - Ebay

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