The bawu is a Chinese wind instrument.Although shaped like a flute, it is actually a free reed instrument, with a single metal reed. It is played in a transverse (horizontal) manner. It has a pure, clarinet-like timbre and its playing technique incorporates the use of much ornamentation, particularly bending tones.
The bawu likely originated in the Yunnan province of southwest China, it has become a standard instrument throughout China, used in modern Chinese compositions for traditional instrument ensembles. The instrument is also closely associated with Hmong, Yi, Hani and other minority cultures in southwestern China. It is typically used as a solo instrument, and is often featured in film scores; it is sometimes also heard in popular music recordings.
Although the bawu is still predominantly performed in China, it has in recent years been adopted by European composers and performers. Rohan Leach from England, Raphael De Cock from Belgium, and Herman Witkam from the Netherlands have all taken the instrument in new directions. The musician Guo Yue, who now resides in England, has long promoted the instrument and plays it on all of his recordings.