The Yi people live in the mountains and valleys of Yunnan and one unique characteristic is their written language, which you can see here. These pictographs and below them are han characters. Let’s see what type of people live here.

As an unexpected visitor, I seemed to make the girls shy. But they soon began to speak up when the topic turned to their areas of expertise: Clothes, relationships, and girl stuff.

The Yi are very open. Dating and love talk are openly expressed in song, dance, and conversation.

An important part of Yi culture is to drink. To welcome the guests they always sing sons and then you have to drink. But I’m not a fan of drinking, so I’m gonna put this aside. It’s forced drinking. If you don’t drink, they won’t stop singing.

So I have no choice. Cheers.

It’s some bitter stuff. The only thing to get rid of that taste is to try some of the dishes here. These are all organic. They’re all vegetables and chicken, you gotta come try this yourself.

Tonight, people are dancing around the fire again. A party every night!

The Yi are a festive, passionate people. You can see their spirit is like fire. At night, the fire lights up and people sing and dance. You get a small glimpse of the people and their lifestyles.

Now for a road trip. I’m thinking something rugged.

YouTube – Travelogue Ethnic Odyssey – Rock Forest of Kunming – 3/3

YouTube – Travelogue Ethnic Odssey – The Yi People 3/3

In a beautiful place like this, who says you can’t have an adventure as well. Sometimes, a girl has got to take matters into her own hands. Buckle up.

The unique natural beauty is rare. If you’re a fan of driving, a ride to the soil forest really gets your sense of adventure stimulated.

The Stone Forest was formed by geological movements and soil erosion one or two million years ago. It’s an amazing sight, out of this world, a magical work of geology.

Speak of a forest and most people will think of lush leaves. But, did you know it meant something as grand as this. The earth forest. Instead they have earth, and rock, and sediment. After 1.75 million years, you get something as captivating as this.

The soil forest is located 110 kilometers northeast of Chuxiong. It’s a primitive, rugged, bare mountain in a remote valley.

The soil forest is a photographer’s paradise. Although the composition seems monotonous, the sharp angles of the peaks and mountains bend the light differently, creating varying moods and different shadows.

Here, in Yuanmo, the Yi people keep their customs alive. You’ll be dazzled by their embroidered clothes, and their mesmerizing songs.

Chuxiong is known for its unique sights and something you see here today is the stone forest. Look around me and you see the unique geological features. But besides just the sights, there’s some unique voices. Let’s look at the people who make such music.

Among the strange landscape, the sound resonates even more beautifully. It’s not pop music, but far more exotic. The Yi voices are just as mysterious as the environment, bringing us back to the primitive land of dinosaurs and Yuanmo man.

Haha, two lovers courting in song. Just what you’d expect.

Among the historical features, you can find an ancient sundial, a symbol of the Yis’ intelligence. Recording the passage of time, slowly, but without stop.

Here we are on lion mountain, with another branch of the Yi. No matter which branch, they have the same passion for fire and for dancing. Let’s see.

The Yis’ personality is represented by fire. When we see fire, we think of the Yi people’s warm, open, direct personalities, and passionate spirit. At night, they drink alcohol and gather around the fire and sing and dance. Here, is the center of their spirit.

There are many different branches of the Yi people. Sometimes they have different outfits, sometimes they do different things everyday, they have different languages even. But one thing binds them together, and that is the sound of the firey spirit and the passion they have. I’m Yin and see you next time on the ethnic minority series.


The Yi are the children of the mountains.

The Yi men appear cold, but their inner spirits burns like fire. The women are hard working, and excellent singers and dancers.

They are passionate towards life, warm-hearted and hospitable. They drink hearty bowls of alcohol, and sing with their open hearts.

YouTube – Yi Dance Rehearsal Jan 26

Amateur performers of Chinese Art and Dance Program rehearsed Yi Dance for Chinese New Year Celebration Show at Albany Community Center, CA, Jan.26, 2009

YouTube – Yi Tribal Torch Dance – Chinese Dance

YouTube – Yi Dance – Carrying Dishes 跳菜

YouTube – The Dance of Yi People

Title: Dance of Yi.
Composer: Huiran Wang.
Performance Date: 02/18/2007
Place: Egg Theater (Albany, NY)
Purpose: Chinese New Year Celebration

The instrument I am playing here is called a Pipa. It is a string instrument of Central Asian origin brought to China along the Silk Road about 2,000 years ago. It became popular at the court of the Tang dynasty in the 7th century, and is now an integral part of Chinese musical culture. From China, it reached many other East Asian cultures and versions of the Pipa exist in Japan, Korea, and Vietnam. It is a difficult instrument to master. The four strings are played using a fake fingernail, because the strings are too hard to use real nails.

This song is called Dance of the Yi People. The Yi, formerly also called the LoLo, are a large tribe of about 8 million people living in the mountain areas of Southwest China, with some in the mountains of Northeast Vietnam and Northern Thailand. Most are mountain farmers and herdsmen. Their language is related to Burman. This dance is about love and courtship, and though based on traditional Yi music, this Pipa solo piece was created by composer Wang Huiran in 1960. It is today part of the standard Pipa repertoire, and most students of the Pipa will have learned it.

YouTube – Pipa – Dance of the Yi People 彜族舞曲

i have listened to this at least ten times

and i am not tired of this just yet!


She is one of the most amazing player that I have seen.

This is the Yi people’s lute song, the Yi people in Southwest Asia

I need sheet music of this song for practicing. Would u please share me?

Thanks in advance. ^_^

great player!

I like this performance!!

YouTube – Liu Fang – Dance of the Yi Tribe

Some of the most beautiful and exquisite music I have ever heard.

xoxo ~ Your Zhi-yin ~ Res

…very emotional. The picking was amazing. I would like to try one of these, the bends sound so crazy.

YouTube – Yi Dance on 2007 NJ Chinese Moon Festival

YouTube – UNL Chinese New Year Party 2008 – Yi People Dance

YouTube – Flowery Waist Yi Singing

YouTube – Yi Dance 山寨欢歌

YouTube – Beautiful New Year Dance of the Yi Group in China

YouTube – China Ethnic Dance 16/16 – Yi

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