Area: Inner Mongolia, Liaoning, Jilin province
Serial No.: Ⅴ-40
Declarer: Zhalute Banner/Ke'erqin Youyi mid-Banner, Inner Mongolia. Fuxin Mongolia Autonomous County, Liaoning province. Qianguo'erluosi Mongolia Autonomous County, Jilin province.
Wulige'er, meaning 'story telling', was formed in the late Ming and early Qing dynasties and gained popularity in the compact Mongolian ethnic communities within Inner Mongolia and its neighboring provinces.
Wulige'er is performed in Mongolian and has four main varieties: Yabagan Wulige'er or Hurui Wulige'er (i.e. story-telling without musical accompaniment), Chaoren Wulige'er (i.e. story-telling with the accompaniment of an ancient stringed instrument named Chao'er), and Huren Wulige'er (i.e. story-telling with the accompaniment of a four-stringed instrument named Sihu). Story-telling with musical accompaniment is usually performed by one person.
There is a variety of vocal music throughout Mongolian culture, with the Fighting Melody, Seeking for Life Mate Melody, Satirizing Melody, Landscape Melody, Hurry on the Journey Melody, and Going to Imperial Court Meeting Melody displaying distinct characteristics.
Varying in length, the repertoire of Wulige'er is based on folk stories, works of the 'lettermen' or actors, folk epic and narrative songs, real-life stories, and the recomposing of its counterpart of Han Chinese.
Different regions also have unique Wulige'er. For example, in the Ke'erqin Grassland, the Huren Wulige'er is prevalent, whilst in the Fuxin Mongolia autonomous county (Liaoning province), locals prefer to adopt and recompose stories of Han Chinese, creating, new art forms such as the Fuxin Mongolia Opera.
For most Mongolians, Wulige'er is not only a major part of cultural life, but also an important way to gain knowledge. Since the 1980s, many renowned artists passed away with few new artists to take their places. Nowadays, as people have more options for entertainment the practice of Wulige'er is fading.