The Dimen Dong Folk Chorus in Concert


Partnerships & Collaborations

In many ways, Dong singing is some of the least ‘Chinese’ music in China. Fundamentally, it is the music of a migratory people, with polyphony stemming from an innate sense of community, vocal timbre more characteristic of Balkan than Asian nations, and a cultural frame of reference—from children’s songs to historical epics—that looks well past China’s borders into southeast Asia.

— Ken Smith, co-music director of Dong Folk Music: People and Nature in Harmony


Presented in association with the 2013 Smithsonian Folklife Festival.

Support provided by the Ministry of Culture of the People’s Republic of China and the Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in Houston. Funded in part by Cathay Bank.


In Guizhou Province village of Dimen, song has long taken the place of the written word. There, young people learn to read and write in the official national language — Mandarin Chinese — but at home they speak in their own tongue: the language of the Dong people.

Recipients of a 2009 Intangible Cultural Heritage designation from UNESCO and a 2012 International Spotlight Award from the White House, the Dimen Dong Folk Chorus is comprised of 14 young people dedicated to the revitalization and promotion of Dong culture through song. Their redolent music is characterized by polyphonic singing, or kgal laox (侗族大歌), and speaks of diverse beauty of rural life.

Asia Society Texas Center is honored to host their Texas debut on a tour that includes performances at the 2013 Smithsonian Folklife Festival and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

Stop by early to enjoy light bites and a glass of wine at The Jade Stone Café at Asia Society.



Pre-Performance Discussion: 6:30 pm

  • Ren Hexin, Director, Dimen Dong Culture Eco-Museum
  • Joanna Lee, Musicologist and Co-Founder,
  • Western China Cultural Ecology Research Workshop
  • Ken Smith, arts critic, Financial Times

Performance: 7:30 pm


Additional Performance

Friday, June 28, 2013 at 6:30 pm


Jade Stone Café Theater Offerings

  • Vegetable Bun in a Box with Mini Vegetable Spring Roll and Peanut Sauce
  • Pork Dumplings
  • Gourmet Cheese Plate with Crackers
  • Chicken Salad Sliders
  • Jade Salad in a Box with Grilled Chicken, Mixed Greens, Red and Napa Cabbage, Carrots, Cucumbers, Marinated Red Onions, Vinaigrette Dressing


Related Link

NPR: Amy Tan Reveals Stories of Dong Folk Songs


Supported by The Brown Foundation, Inc., Houston Arts Alliance, City of Houston, The Cullen Trust for the Performing Arts, Bank of America, and United Airlines – Official Airline of Asia Society Texas Center.

Event Details

Thu 27 Jun 2013
6:30 p.m.-

1370 Southmore Blvd. Houston, TX 77004 713.496.9901

Buy Tickets
Free with reservation (limit 4 per person). Unclaimed reservations released 15 minutes prior to concert. Click the 'Buy Tickets' button to request a reservation via email or contact Jahan Jafarpour at 713.496.9901.
Add to Calendar 20130627T233000 20130627T233000 UTC Asia Society: The Dimen Dong Folk Chorus in Concert 1370 Southmore Blvd. Houston, TX 77004 713.496.9901
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