Director Shijun Jia captures the daily rituals of the Yi people, an ancient Chinese minority, in this music video for Shanghai-based singer and producer Yehaiyahan. Under The Moonlight explores the growth of Yi women living in the Daliang Mountains of China’s Sichuan province and the daily activities that govern their lives.
This latest song from Yehaiyahan is a low-fi neo-soul ballad supported by a sample from a small, female Yi choir. The director came up with the idea to track down the singers and make their home the focal point for the music video. “During our week of location scouting my team and I felt a fantastic energy surrounding the community,” says Jia, describing the Yi’s sheltered village that sits 3700km above sea level. “It’s a place that’s incomprehensible when using language.”
“When the Yi put on their traditional dress for the party scene in the film, we felt their pride,” he continues. “Being a city person, the beauty of the place is hard to ignore. The environment the Yi grow up in is very ancient and natural, which completely fits the aesthetic of Yehaiyahan’s track.”
Under The Moonlight, which was shot entirely on 15mm film, won Best Music Video at Queen Palm International Film Festival in LA and Best Film at Thunderdance Film Festival in France—reinforcing Yehaiyahan’s presence on the international stage.
The singer has emerged as one of China’s most prolific and magnetic independent musicians in recent years. Not only does her back catalog school listeners on hip-hop, dub, folk and electronica, but the genre-bending artist continues to build momentum by headlining multiple showcases at this year’s South by Southwest festival and embarking on a US tour.
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