Folk artist still gong strong at 70

Tianjin, Dec 12 (Xinhua) Striking Chinese gongs for 50 years, Liu Zibin, a 70-year-old folk artist in northern China’s Tianjin Municipality, is eager to introduce the traditional musical instrument used in Chinese opera to more people.
Liu became addicted to Chinese opera in his childhood when his grandfather frequently took him to watch performances.
At the age of 13, he joined Hebei Bangzi Opera training team.
Hebei Bangzi Opera is one of the oldest types of Chinese opera in northern China, which became popular in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). Like Peking Opera, it is a traditional Chinese opera combining music, vocals, dance and acrobatics.
“It took me hours to practice the basic skills of gongs,” he said. “This round piece of metal can help performers on the stage to express joy and sorrow when hit by a stick with different rhythms, so I must bear in mind all kinds of rhythms for various situations.”