The Zhou Family Band has been performing for the past seven generations and is still going strong.
Eight members of the Zhou Family Band are currently on a one-month tour of the United States. The tour, which features 17 shows, began on Sept 18 at the Global Roots Festival in Minneapolis. American audiences will get a rare chance to hear centuries-old Chinese wind and percussion instruments, which the family has been performing for over seven generations.
At home, the band is part of weddings, births, funerals and rituals involving the worship of ancestors in Lingbi, East China's Anhui province.
The band's performances blend the suona (a double-reed Chinese horn), flutes, the sheng (one of the oldest Chinese wind instruments), mouth organs, drums and cymbals.
The suona, also known as the Bolin laba, was designated as a national intangible cultural heritage in 2014.
The band's US tour includes two shows at the World Music Festival in Chicago, two workshops at the University of Michigan and a performance at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
Before the performers began their US tour, the band did two shows at Beijing's 300-year-old Zhengyici Theater.
At the shows, the band opened the night with the Fanzi Tune-Prosper for Ten Thousand Years, which indicates wealth, prosperity and happiness.
The other pieces were all old tunes passed down from earlier generations, including a celebratory tune-New Life, which is performed when there is a birth in a family, and Birds Paying Homage to the Phoenix Marriage, which is a standard fixture at weddings.
The oldest among the eight musicians, Zhou Benxiang, 70, imitates human voices using five instruments and embellishes his one-man act with stunts.
"What you see onstage is more than just music. It is deeply rooted in traditional Chinese folk culture," says the band's leader Zhou Benming, who is a fifth-generation musician.
"The music connects people with the gods and nature. It's rare nowadays.
"The musicians in the band are all blood relations.
"We have blood connections, which make the music even more special," says Zhou Benming.
The origins of the band date back to Zhou Jingzhi in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).
Zhou Benming, who was born in the 1960s, is the third son of Zhou Zhengyu, a fourth-generation musician.
At the age of 4, Zhou Benming began to learn to play the music instruments with his father. At age 8, he was touring with the band to perform at weddings and funerals around Anhui province.
Zhou Benming says there were many bands like his during the 1970s and '80s, which made the market competitive. But thanks to their techniques and reputation, the Zhou outfit has always been busy.
"I remember that a tour could last for over two months because the families needed us to perform at important occasions," he says.
Speaking about his early days, Zhou Benming says his father was very strict with him.