September 15, 2018

"Li’s career as a kusang ren — or 'funeral wailer' — is part of a tradition that now blends centuries-old rites with modern-day spectacle..."

"... to send deceased relatives off in style. Li’s days are filled with mourning, as families hire him to perform melodramatic dirges at ceremonies honoring the dead. Surrounded by grieving family members, Li contorts his face in agony, howling into the microphone until his voice goes hoarse. With his kusang performances, the funerals become lively occasions for the dead" (Sixth Tone)(video at the link, so you can hear what professional wailing sounds like).

AND: Here's the Wikipedia article "Professional mourning":
Professional mourning or paid mourning is an occupation that originates from Egyptian, Chinese, Mediterranean and Near Eastern cultures. Professional mourners, also called moirologists, are compensated to lament or deliver a eulogy and help comfort and entertain the grieving family.... Held in high esteem in some cultures and times, the practice was vilified in others, such as the Chinese Cultural Revolution.... Professional mourning is still practiced in China and other Asian countries....

16 comments:

Bob said...

Let's hire some for the Democrats to bewail the death of their dreams.

john said...

One of the stages of grief is letting go. God, can that guy let go.

buwaya said...

Oliver Twist

Rob said...

Bob is on the right track, but better for the Democrats to find gainful employment as professional mourners. They’ve been practicing the wailing since November 2016.

john said...

I sometimes get this irrational fear that no one will show up to my funeral, except perhops my wife and kids. Just to alleviate that fear, maybe I should prepay someone like him to show up. Maybe it's not irrational.

Wow, he even does duets (see -1.22)!

Fernandinande said...

Remind me to not die over there.

Narayanan said...

Could have used one for McCain.

mikee said...

I, for one, prefer the tradition of Sin Eaters, who are invited into a funeral to eat a meal which supposedly contains or represents the sins of the deceased. Taking the sins of another onto oneself is altruistic.

Then again, it was usually really poor people who became Sin Eaters. And they were castigated as unclean afterwards. So not so good a gig, eh?

William said...

It doesn't sound like an interesting life. I suppose if you're a true melancholic, then you get paid for doing what you love, but even for a natural Debbie Downer, you have to tune out a lot of stuff to deliver a good wail.

William said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
RK said...

The American in me would be embarrassed at the insincerity of it.

Leora said...

I thought of It Oliver Twist to

rcocean said...

The Democrats might hire him, if Trump wins in 2020.

cathy said...

My friend isn't paid but she's good at this as it is part of Maori funerals. As the family moves on to the meeting area a chant starts from the officials, the wailer cries, and younger people start a haka with rhythmic stomping, clubs banging the ground and a song/chant. After the 3 days since the death, the body is carried off in a similar manner, with a few wailers following. Walk over to the cemetery. The family and community dig the grave and bury the body. Then people go eat. Seems pretty proper. It's a big deal traveling far and attending funerals of people one knows or extended family.

Jason said...

Long tradition in Ireland as well:

https://www.libraryireland.com/articles/IrishFuneralCryDPJ1-31/index.php

It's called "keening," and is a transliteration of the Irish Caoineadh, meaning "lament." Very long tradition of Sean nos songs and airs with this title and function.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caoineadh_Airt_U%C3%AD_Laoghaire

The great James Kelly, a fiddler, plays one here, Caoineadh of the Spalpin, and explains it here, and plays it beautifully.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M2P_SnWaAo8



The Crack Emcee said...

john said...

"I sometimes get this irrational fear that no one will show up to my funeral, except perhops my wife and kids."

I do not get you guys at all. But I am understanding what blacks have been contending with all these centuries.

[Shaking my head] It's hopeless, that we'll ever cope with people this insecure, at all times. Always worried about what someone thinks, worried about what happens after you die - just worried - and filling the world with it.

Blacks worry about being around white people.

We're just not THAT insecure.