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Editors / Translators: David Holm and Yuanyao Meng
This is an annotated edition of a traditional song text, written in the Zhuang character script. The Brigands’ Song is part of a living tradition, sung antiphonally by two male and two female singers. The song is probably unique in presenting the experiences of ordinary men and women during wartime in pre-modern China. The narrative relates how the men are sent off to war, fighting as native troops on behalf of the Chinese imperial armies. The song dates from the Ming dynasty and touches on many topics of historical significance, such as the use of firearms and other operational details.