Graham Reid | | 1 min read
Elsewhere has frequently posted Chinese, Mongolian and Tibetan music recorded in the field and of earthy authenticity (or soaring spirituality). But we aren't averse to a bit of Cantonese pop, ambient Sino-fusion or wallpaper world music which nods to the Middle Kingdom.
These days only a fool or an academic would be snooty about world music artists and try to delineate between the genuine article and the enjoyably manufactured.
Which goes no way at all towards explaining where this Buddhist pop princess of Mongolian/Chinese heritage sits in the spectrum: certainly there are elements of contemporary dance and trip-hop at work; some UK writers have cited Bjork as her nearest musical relative (not true, Bjork is way more wayward); and throughout this album traditional Chinese melodies and instruments are deployed although she sings in Sanskrit (or sometimes in made-up language)
Of course it doesn't hurt that she is enormously photogenic and dresses like a star from Raise the Red Lantern.
Sa Dingding has been groomed for stardom in the West (just in time for the Olympics?) and her music is silken and to some extent polished rather too smooth to be entirely enjoyable. But that doesn't deny the fact that there is still much to like here as traditional songcraft, 21st century production and Tibetan chant come together -- and although none of it feels like New Age nonsense you know it is designed for the iPod Generation.
Over to you.