Chinese Traditional Exquisite Bamboo Clappers Allegro Kuai-Ban

Traditionally, Chinese verse stories were recited to the beat of clappers made from pieces of metal, wood or bamboo. These story tellers were typically beggars who went from shop to shop making up verses. The clappers beat was used in theatre shows as well as to teach school children rhymes and verse.  Master the deceptively simple bamboo castanets and recite classic verses and you will never look at Mandarin the same way again! If you like to watch Chinese TV show, you should never miss Xiangsheng with performance of Kuai-Ban. You will find it how stunning and speedy the performance is and how rhythmic the words are. But few people know about these kinds rhythmic instruments and seldom can manage to play professionally.

What is Allegro Kuai-Ban?

Kuai ban (pronounced “kwai bahr”) is a unique folk art where story tellers accompany their own vocal performance with the rhythmic sound of bamboo or brass clappers.
Chances are, if you get a set of kuai ban clappers, you will skip the story-telling business. But there is no telling what marvelous rhythmic innovations you will come up with when you experiment with these exotic percussion instruments. This is a true golden opportunity to create original new percussive inventions in Western music.

The Father of Kuai Ban
The art form was developed by Li Runjie during the midst of World War II. An old friend of the Li family (and a virtouso kuai ban performer himself) is Liang Houmin. He explains that “Mr. Li was born into a poor farmer’s family. He was apprenticed in Tianjin while still a youngster. By the time he reached 18, he was indentured by Japanese occupation forces to work in a coalmine as a miner. But he fled from the mine and began life as a beggar. No doubt, life then was miserable, yet, right at that time, he learned to play the “Shu Lai Bao”, a rhythmic story telling to the accompaniment of the clappers, played by beggars to make a living.” Liang Houmin explains that by the 1950s Mr. Li had fully developed the art of kuai ban and become famous.

Kuai Ban usually comes in a set of two, one for each hand, and is made of bamboo. A great fun for all ages to play with, especially Chinese teachers can teach students Chinese and rhymes with this fun Kuai Ban. Be the first kid on your block to own a set of genuine Chinese Traditional Kuai Ban Clappers!  Order yours now.

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3 Responses to Chinese Traditional Exquisite Bamboo Clappers Allegro Kuai-Ban

  1. Ágoston Péter says:

    Great post! Do you know any sites, where howtos can be found for this instrument? I’d love to learn to use it.

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