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Dying Chinese Opera in Thailand
Ayutthaya
By Ana Salvá
23 Mar 2016

Chinese opera in Thailand is a dying art. Opera companies performed for years in theaters, but the tradition is now under threat because of changing cultural habits and demographics. Nowadays these companies travel from village to village, bringing the tradition as a way to honor ancestors rather than to entertain the masses. Local Chinese temples raise the money to pay expenses.

Chinese opera became popular when Chinese migrated to Thailand in large numbers two hundred years ago. About 14 percent of Thailand’s population is ethnic Chinese. As older ethnic Chinese pass away, younger generations who have assimilated into Thai culture do not really continue the tradition. Further, just a small number of Thais of Chinese descent understand the dialect used by these opera singers.

Text: Ana Salvá

Fotos: Walter Astrada

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Dying Chinese Opera in Thailand 01
Ayutthaya
By Ana Salvá
23 Mar 2016

One of the star performers applies makeup before going on stage. He is one of the few who continue to sing in Chinese dialect. Some of the company are ethnic Chinese, but others are rural Thais who were sold into the troupe when they were children. Picture by Walter Astrada.

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Dying Chinese Opera in Thailand 02
Ayutthaya
By Ana Salvá
23 Mar 2016

An opera company member applies makeup before the performance. The child is the son of a couple of the performers who accompanies his parents in their nomadic life. Picture by Walter Astrada.

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Dying Chinese Opera in Thailand 03
Ayutthaya
By Ana Salvá
23 Mar 2016

Chinese opera companies travel from one village to another in Thailand performing in local fairs and festivals. Picture by Walter Astrada.

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Dying Chinese Opera in Thailand 04
Ayutthaya
By Ana Salvá
23 Mar 2016

A portrait of one of the performers. Picture by Walter Astrada.

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Dying Chinese Opera in Thailand 05
Ayutthaya
By Ana Salvá
23 Mar 2016

Chinese opera company members ready for a performance. The actors and singers carry on the tradition as a way to honour ancestors rather than to entertain the masses

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Dying Chinese Opera in Thailand 06
Ayutthaya
By Ana Salvá
23 Mar 2016

An audience member enjoys the performance of a Chinese opera near Ayuttaya, north of Bangkok. Picture by Walter Astrada.

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Dying Chinese Opera in Thailand 07
Ayutthaya
By Ana Salvá
23 Mar 2016

Two children watch the performance of a Chinese opera near Ayuttaya, north of Bangkok. As time goes by Chinese opera performers see fewer new faces in the audience. Picture by Walter Astrada.

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Dying Chinese Opera in Thailand 08
Ayutthaya
By Ana Salvá
23 Mar 2016

A member of the opera company applies makeup near the stage. Some of performers are sold into the troupe as children and raised in the company with little education. Picture by Walter Astrada.

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Kenya's Turkana Nomads
Lokichoggio, Kenya
By Kamuz Raphael
02 Jul 2015

A few shots taken during filming in Lokichoggio, Turkana in Kenya. Gives a glimpse at life amongst the Turkana nomads.

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The yoruk- traditional nomads in a mo...
Taurus Mountains
By Piero Castellano
02 Nov 2014

Taurus Mountains (Turkey) November 2, 2014: YošruŸk shepherd Refik O…gan rests with his family and his business partner Naki Tez around a fire at a camp at 1200 m above sea level on the southern slope of the Taurus Mountains. (Photo by Piero Castellano)

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The yoruk- traditional nomads in a mo...
Taurus Mountains
By Piero Castellano
01 Nov 2014

Taurus Mountains (Turkey) November 2, 2014: Goats of YšorŸuk shepherd Refik …Ogan drink water at a spring in a wooded area of the Taurus Mountains, during their migration towards the winter grazes on the coastal hills. Goat milk is used by YošruŸks to produce their celebrated Tulum cheese and delicacies, like goat butter and yogurt. (Photo by Piero Castellano)

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The yoruk- traditional nomads in a mo...
Taurus Mountains
By Piero Castellano
01 Nov 2014

Taurus Mountains (Turkey) November 2, 2014: YošruŸk shepherd †UmmuŸ …Ogan milks a goat of her family's herd on the southern slope of the Taurus Mountains during their migration towards the winter grazes on the coastal hills. (Photo by Piero Castellano)

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The yoruk- traditional nomads in a mo...
Taurus Mountains
By Piero Castellano
01 Nov 2014

Taurus Mountains (Turkey) November 2, 2014: YšoruŸk shepherd U†mmuŸ O…gan makes the fire for lunch while her husband Refik brings her firewood. (Photo by Piero Castellano)

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The yoruk- traditional nomads in a mo...
Taurus Mountains
By Piero Castellano
01 Nov 2014

Taurus Mountains (Turkey) November 2, 2014: The goat herd, led by YšoruŸk shepherd Refik O…gan, walks down a trail in a wooded area of the Taurus Mountains during their migration toward winter grazes on the coastal hills. (Photo by Piero Castellano)

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The yoruk- traditional nomads in a mo...
Taurus Mountains
By Piero Castellano
01 Nov 2014

Taurus Mountains (Turkey) November 2, 2014: YošruŸk shepherd †UmmuŸ O…gan gets ready to make lunch with two butchered roosters, at a 1200 m above sea level camp on the southern slope of the Taurus Mountains. (Photo by Piero Castellano)

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The yoruk- traditional nomads in a mo...
Taurus Mountains
By Piero Castellano
01 Nov 2014

Taurus Mountains (Turkey) November 1, 2014: YošruŸk shepherd Refik O…gan leads his herd, armed with an automatic shotgun, while his older son …Ozcan follows it, also armed with a shotgun. Even more than wolves they fear feraldogs which, unlike wolves, are not afraid of men or shepherd dogs. A recent, controversial bill planning to solve stray dogs problem in urban areas by deporting them to the wilderness is deeply concerning for shepherds. (Photo by Piero Castellano)

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The yoruk- traditional nomads in a mo...
Taurus Mountains
By Piero Castellano
31 Oct 2014

Taurus Mountains (Turkey) November 1, 2014: YšoruŸk shepherd Refik O…gan's truck climbs along the trail
toward the mountain pass where they spent the summer, while his sons lead the herd through the mountains. (Photo by Piero Castellano)

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The yoruk- traditional nomads in a mo...
Taurus Mountains
By Piero Castellano
31 Oct 2014

Taurus Mountains (Turkey) November 1, 2014: YšoruŸk shepherd Refik O…gan's herd graze while the shepherds quickly eat and rest, during a pause in their migration towards the coastal low hills where they will spend the winter. (Photo by Piero Castellano)

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The yoruk- traditional nomads in a mo...
Taurus Mountains
By Piero Castellano
31 Oct 2014

Taurus Mountains (Turkey) November 1, 2014: YšoruŸk shepherd Refik O…gan guards his herd, armed with an automatic shotgun. The day before their migration began, a sheep belonging to a neighboring "yayla" had been killed by a wolf, and recent traces of wolves have been found along their path. The Turkish word for wolf is "kurt", but YošruŸks call it "janavar", "the beast". (Photo by Piero Castellano)

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The yoruk- traditional nomads in a mo...
Taurus Mountains
By Piero Castellano
31 Oct 2014

Taurus Mountains (Turkey) November 1, 2014: An outraged chicken looks at the camera while held by Yoruk shepherd †UmmuŸ hanim, while the rest of her family hunts down the other chickens, to take them for the winter migration down to the coastal hills. The older ones and the roosters will be used as meat supply, butchered along the way. (Photo by Piero Castellano)

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The yoruk- traditional nomads in a mo...
Taurus Mountains
By Piero Castellano
31 Oct 2014

Taurus Mountains (Turkey) November 1, 2014: …Ozay O…gan's , younger son of Refik, removes the cover of the goat shelter to store it for winter. He is doing so in preparation for the winter migration with the herd down to the coastal hills. The typical shelters are called "Ilkilik", from the archaic Turkish word for goat "ilki", still used only in YošruŸk language. Once they were covered with goat wool canvas. (Photo by Piero Castellano)

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The yoruk- traditional nomads in a mo...
Taurus Mountains
By Piero Castellano
31 Oct 2014

Taurus Mountains (Turkey) October 31, 2014: A "yayla", a mountain outpost where YošruŸk nomads and their herds spend the summers, at 1800 m above sea level. It is called SšoguŸt (Willow) from the derelict tree that stands by the well and it's made of just five houses and a dozen of goat shelters. (Photo by Piero Castellano)

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The yoruk- traditional nomads in a mo...
Taurus Mountains
By Piero Castellano
31 Oct 2014

Taurus Mountains (Turkey) November 1, 2014: The goat herd, led by YšoruŸk shepherds …Ozcan and …Ozay O…gan, descends the southern rim of the Taurus Mountains, toward the coastal low hills where they will spend the winter. (Photo by Piero Castellano)

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The yoruk- traditional nomads in a mo...
Taurus Mountains
By Piero Castellano
31 Oct 2014

Taurus Mountains (Turkey) November 1, 2014: YšoruŸk shepherd Refik O…gan's truck steers carefully along the hairpin turns of the trail down the southern rim of the Taurus Mountains, descending to the coastal low hills where his goats herd will spend the winter. (Photo by Piero Castellano)

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The yoruk- traditional nomads in a mo...
Taurus Mountains
By Piero Castellano
31 Oct 2014

Taurus Mountains (Turkey) November 1, 2014: YošruŸk shepherd Refik O…gan's herd climbs toward the mountain pass between the high plains where they spent the summer and the steep rim of the Taurus Mountains, before descending to the coastal low hills where they will spend the winter. (Photo by Piero Castellano)

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The yoruk- traditional nomads in a mo...
Taurus Mountains
By Piero Castellano
31 Oct 2014

Taurus Mountains (Turkey) November 1, 2014: The herd of 249 goats and 4 sheep, led by Refik …Ogan and his older son O…zcan, leaves the "yayla", the mountain outpost where they spent the summer, heading to the low coastal hills in their seasonal migration. (Photo by Piero Castellano)

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The yoruk- traditional nomads in a mo...
Taurus Mountains
By Piero Castellano
31 Oct 2014

Taurus Mountains (Turkey) November 1, 2014: YošruŸk shepherd U†mmuŸ O…gan prepares dinner while making tea on an old stove at a camp located 1200 m above sea level on the southern slope of the Taurus Mountains. (Photo by Piero Castellano)

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The yoruk- traditional nomads in a mo...
Taurus Mountains
By Piero Castellano
31 Oct 2014

Taurus Mountains (Turkey) November 1, 2014: Refik O…gan watches his goats descending the southern rim of the Taurus Mountains, while a break in the clouds shows glimpses of sunny wooded areas. (Photo by Piero Castellano)

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The yoruk- traditional nomads in a mo...
Taurus Mountains
By Piero Castellano
31 Oct 2014

Taurus Mountains (Turkey) November 1, 2014: YošruŸk shepherd …Ozcan O…gan leads his goats herd out of the fog on the southern rim of the Taurus Mountains, descending to the coastal low hills where they will spend the winter. (Photo by Piero Castellano)

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The yoruk- traditional nomads in a mo...
Taurus Mountains
By Piero Castellano
31 Oct 2014

Taurus Mountains (Turkey) October 31, 2014: YšorŸuk shepherd Refik O…gan and his business partner, documentary film maker and honey producer Naki Tez discuss accounting in Mr. …Ogan's mountain "manar".(Photo by Piero Castellano)

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The yoruk- traditional nomads in a mo...
Taurus Mountains
By Piero Castellano
30 Oct 2014

Taurus Mountains (Turkey) October 31, 2014: The family of Refik …Ogan, and his business partner Naki Tez, have dinner in their mountain "manar". (Photo by Piero Castellano)

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The yoruk- traditional nomads in a mo...
Taurus Mountains
By Piero Castellano
30 Oct 2014

Taurus Mountains (Turkey) October 31, 2014: A typical YošruŸk dinner at shepherd Refik O…gan's mountain "manar". Aside from the bean stews and bread, goat yogurt is a pillar of YoroŸk cuisine and revered across Turkey. (Photo by Piero Castellano)

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The yoruk- traditional nomads in a mo...
Taurus Mountains
By Piero Castellano
30 Oct 2014

Taurus Mountains (Turkey) October 31, 2014: The "manar", a drywall house of YošruŸk shepherd Refik O…gan at SšoguŸt, the mountain "yayla" where his family spend the summers with their goats. (Photo by Piero Castellano)

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The yoruk- traditional nomads in a mo...
Taurus Mountains
By Piero Castellano
30 Oct 2014

Taurus Mountains (Turkey) October 31, 2014: †UmmuŸ hanim, wife of Refik O…gan, cooks on a stone hearth in their family's mountain "manar".

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Roadside with Cirque Bidon 01
Noyer-sur-cher, Frace
By Arianna Pagani
20 Aug 2014

The Circus Bidone was born in France in 1976. Maintained by Francois Bidone, until today is the last itinerant circus that still moves with horses and carriages in the Berry area. The crew is formed by 7 carriages, 8 horses, one mule, one donkey, 8 artists, one responsible, one monkey, one henhouse and Francois Bidone.

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Roadside with Cirque Bidon 02
Noyer-sur-cher, Frace
By Arianna Pagani
20 Aug 2014

The story about Francois Bidone is based on an itinerant life began in May '68 in France. His hands gave birth to the first carriage and then the next five. Francois is responsible with Benedicte about the whole organization: from the construction of new structures to the show at the choice of artists. Currently there are over forty years that Bidone Circus is in operation.

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Roadside with Cirque Bidon 03
Noyer-sur-cher, Frace
By Arianna Pagani
20 Aug 2014

Laura is an italian artist of the theater circus. She is traveling with the circus from 4 years. She moved permanently to France and with Freddi, is the only girl in the company.

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Roadside with Cirque Bidon 04
Noyer-sur-cher, Frace
By Arianna Pagani
20 Aug 2014

Nico and Freddo try the instruments during a break. Guitar and Fisarmonica accompany the circus troupe during moments of work and stall.

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Roadside with Cirque Bidon 05
Noyer-sur-cher, Frace
By Arianna Pagani
20 Aug 2014

Laura is an aereal dancer. During the show she does two aerial performance with a tissue and with the hoop. Every day she has to fix the "verghe", the structure where they hung the tools available for her number.