Sala qu and Camel drama of Salar Ethnic Group
The Sala qu is the lengthy lyric song that is sung by the language of the Sala nationality. Each Sala qu is made up of some short songs with complete meaning and respective independent significance. These short songs closely concentrate on a theme, or narrate a story, or express some kind of feeling, or mould the image, they are extended from many angles and levels. The melody of Sala qu is beautiful, the rhythm is lively, and the words of song are vivid, humorous and jocular.
Most of the Sala qu are the “love songs” that express the love between male and female youths. The traditional songs reacted the contents that the young people had no free marriage in the old society, looked forward to breaking through feudal ethical code, and pursued the pure and cordial love and happy life, and so on. In expression methods, it applied the means of analogy in the folk songs in large quantities, made use of matters to analogize love and mankind, and chant ideal. In rules and forms, the structure of each qu was comparatively free, and the number of sentences of each group of short poems was comparatively fixed, generally 4, 6 or 8 sentences. Generally there were 5 words in each sentence, and certain words were inserted, so the rhythm was brief and lively, the melody was untrammeled and indignant, the last word of each sentence was pronounced rising and falling, melodiously. The songs could easily express the passionate and profound feelings of singers. It was a kind of folk art deeply loved by the vast people, included these types: “Yu’r” (love song), Sala “Hua’r”, banquet songs, folk rhymes, work songs, children’s songs and cradle-songs, etc.
“Yu’r” was one of the main forms of Sala qu, and a kind of traditional love song in the national language of the Sala people. This kind of love songs could only be sung on the field or in the open country and mills, and other out-of-the-way places, and were strictly forbidden singing in the villages and houses. “Yu’r” reacted the pursuit of the male and female youths of the Sala nationality to free marriage in concentration, the works with strong impact include Baxi Guliuliu, Salar Saixibuga, King Awuni and Beautiful Girl Jugumao, and so on.
Camel drama is the only program whose contents are kept comparatively complete among the traditional dramas of the Sala nationality. On the wedding day, four persons perform it. Among them, two persons wear fur-lined jackets inside out and act as camels. Among the other two, one acts as the Mongolian, the other acts as the ancestor of the Sala nationality—Galemang. “Galemang” wears gown and binds “dasida’r” around the head, holds walking stick in hands and leads the camels. In the former part, the two persons go on dialogue, one asks and the other answers, narrate the process of the long and arduous journey of the ancestors of the Sala nationality. In the latter part, the person who acts as Ahung reads and sings verses in the Sala language, narrates how the ancestors of the Sala nationality immigrated into Xunhua. Generally, the performance goes on in the moonlight at night, and the spectators sit around and participate in the dialogue, the atmosphere is very warm.