The people of Yao

The Yao Experience

Arriving at the home of the Yao Tribe, we were greeted by a group of women, carving and cutting raw fish and leaves over a fire, next to a truck with no bonnet. We were surrounded by groups of beautiful children all dressed in their exquisitely designed handmade black and orange outfits.

Their outfits were clearly a significant part of their culture. They were all very friendly and asking to take photos with us. We were invited to the back of the village to a large old basketball court where the performance would take place. Here we met the musicians, three elderly men wearing brightly coloured robes. The instruments were a combination of wooden drums and rustic gongs.

We were told there was to be an organized dance routine, with rhythmic percussion, however – there seemed to have been a language barrier – as we proceeded to witness the men take their positions, and proceed to walk in circles for 5 minutes. It wasn’t the most conventional of performances, but it certainly was charming. After everyone had finished, we progressed into sampling their instruments. They were all beautifully made, wooden with animal skins on the top, tied together with string and red tassels.

Blog post – Lauren Simm
Photography – Lauren Simm, Paresh Parmar

More information: BBC3 Focus on China