Seawall builders' work song
Seawall builders in Haiyan sing songs to synchronize movements and boost morale. [Photo/jiaxing.gov.cn]
The seawall builders' work song is sung by the residents in Haiyan county, Jiaxing to synchronize movements and boost morale when building seawalls.
Located in the estuary of Qiangtang River, Haiyan tends to be hit by tidewater. From the Eastern Jin Dynasty (317-420) to the Tang Dynasty (618-907), 40 kilometers of southwestern shoreline in the county had withered away.
To protect local residents and their properties from being destroyed by the tide, Haiyan people have built seawalls for generations.
In this modern age when the primitive ways of building sea walls are no longer relevant, the songs sung by builders are also on the edge of extinction.
In 2007, the seawall builders' work song was listed as a provincial intangible cultural heritage item. There are presently 17 inheritors of seawall builders' work songs in Haiyan.