Huangmeixi, a regional genre in the xiqu form, is popular in the bordering areas of Anhui, Hubei and Jiangxi provinces. Since the 1990s Chinese pop songs started adapting the huangmeixi melodies or making some famous huangmeixi arias into pop music style, and consequently huangmeixi has become one of the most popular local genres within China. Such a pop music trend of huangmeixi should also trace back to the genre’s popularity in Hong Kong where a few huangmeixi plays were made into films in the 1960s. The blending style of the music in these films, which was created by using Western musical instruments playing huangmeixi melodies, managed to separate the genre from the rest of the regional song-dance theatres.
The origin of huangmeixi went back to the mid-19th century when tea-picking songs in the Huangmei area in Hubei province gradually evolved into a simple theatrical form, which focused on stories of two or three young characters. Two characters normally formed a romance and the additional third character would always be the comic man. Later it absorbed the music elements from older genres such as qingyangqiang (an Anhui alteration of the older yiyang musical system) and huiju (a genre created in the mid-18th century in Anhui by combining the music of kun, yiyang and bangzi). It also gradually enriched its performance repertoire.
The dialect used by huangmeixi from the bordering area of Hubei and Anhui, shares similarities with mandarin and thus the speeches and lyrics of the genre are easy to follow. The tempo of the music is faster and therefore livelier.