Sung poetry and story cloths were the way the Hmong people would share their cultural hertiage from generation to generation. While older songs are often memorized, singers often add to them. Nowadays, Hmong songs are poems that the singer makes up using rhyme and clever word play. Very skilled singers gain great renown among the Hmong people. There are ritual songs, courting songs, and teaching songs. Even thought Hmong may have left china, their songs still connect with the life they had there.
There are several different Hmong vocal songs like Kwv Txhiaj (storytelling songs), Zaj Tshoob (engagement songs), Ntau Txhuv (wishing songs), Laig Dab (Invitation songs), Hu plig (Spirit Invocation songs), Ua Neeb (Possession chant), Qhua Ke (Farewell to the spirit songs), and Nyiav (weeping songs).
Kwv Txhiaj is performed mostly by Hmong couples which involve comparing aspects of ones’s lover to aspects of nature. This genre tells a story or explains the details of a ritual.There are several different types of kwv txhiaj that includes love songs (kwv-txhiaj plees), a bride’s song (kwv-txhiaj ua nyab), groom’s son (kwv-txhiaj cia nyab), and many more. Here are a few examples of kwv txhiaj: kwv-txhiaj plees is a love song based on broken relationships and impractical matches. kwv-txhiaj ua nyab is a bride song which is usually a sad song about leaving their family. kwv-txhiaj cia nyab is a song sung by the groom to reassure the bride-to-be and to convince her not to abandon him. kwv-txhiaj tuag is a song about someone who has died or tells of a wish to die. kwv-txhiaj ntsuag is a orphan’s song and can be sung by a widow or a forsaken girl. kwv-txhiaj sib-ncaim is a song about separation. kwv-txhiaj ua tshoob-kos is a wedding song where the groom’s side and the bride’s side have answering parts. This genre isn’t performed a lot nowadays due to where and how the Hmong people live. Since they moved west and are living a more industrial life. Only the older generations know how to tell stories in the traditional way because Hmong people have slowly moved toward using technology more and can’t find the time to teach children kwv txhiaj. Only time kwv txhiaj is performed, nowadays, is during Hmong’s New Year Celebration, a skilled singer is usually surrounded by people with tape recorders who wants to learn kwv txhiaj style.