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HAYA and Their Mongolian World Music
    2009-06-18 16:40:01     CRIENGLISH.com

The lead singer of HAYA,Daiqing Tana [source: 163.com]

HAYA may not be the most popular band in China yet, but they are definitely one of the more unique ones. They promote Mongolian singing and world music by using both traditional Mongolian and modern musical instruments. Chen Zhe has more.

This song is 'Silent Sky', the title track of HAYA's second album. Be it in Mongolian, Tibetan or Mandarin Chinese, the band expresses not only their interpretation of modern Mongolian music, but also their love of nature and their longing for the soul through music.

Comprising six members from China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, the Philippines and Switzerland, HAYA is one of China's most unique musical groups. Featuring Mongolian world music, they perform Mongolian singing accompanied by both traditional and modern musical instruments.

The name "HAYA" means "margin" in Mongolian and indicates a sub-culture and non-mainstream identity. Zhang Quansheng, the producer and a key member of the band, explains.

"I think that the music we perform is popular only among a small group of people and I'm a low-profile person by nature. A 'HAYA' was also a diamond in ancient India. It enriches the most beautiful colours in the world and can bring peace and happiness to people. My band also includes diversified elements. " 

After earning initial fame for composing the music for Zhang Yimou's movie "Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles" in 2007, the Haya Band released its first ever album "Wolf Totem". From composing lyrics and musical scores, arranging and performing to producing, this album is a culmination of the team work of all its members.

What you are hearing now is the title track "Wolf Totem". Accompanied by the traditional Mongolian musical instrument, the horse-head fiddle, the song invokes images of the grasslands and has a high, resonant and smooth tone. The band invites its audience to imagine they are singing and dancing on the vast expanses of Inner Mongolia with this melodious music.

Blending indigenous, forceful and vigorous Mongolian tones and characteristics of modern music, this music has been defined as "Mongolian world music".

Zhang Quansheng elaborates. 

"The key message behind world music is to protect our planet and our mind and soul. No matter where you are from, we all share a common human bond."

Daiqing Tana is the lead singer and also the only female in the band. She is a 26-year-old Mongolian from Qinghai province. Her breathtaking voice contributed a lot to HAYA's second album 'Silent Sky'. 

"The first album was forceful and powerful. It featured Hoomii or throat-singing, a traditional Mongolian style of singing. As I participated in the second album, the music became more soft and feminine."

Tana says that some tracks on the second album came from her dreams, such as the song 'Dancer in the Darkness'. 

"It's a song without lyrics. The notes came to me in a dream one night. I woke up and wrote it down. I practiced the rhythm and found that the effect would be ruined by adding lyrics."

The song 'Dancer in the Darkness' has become the best-received track of the second album. The album will also compete in the Gold Melody Awards in Taiwan and the Grammy Awards in the US later this year.

As two new members from foreign countries recently joined the band, the producer Zhang Quansheng says they will give the band a fresh look and help to incorporate more international musical elements into their works. 

HAYA is currently busy preparing for a live concert on June 26th in Beijing. As world music is not so popular on the Chinese mainland, they hope that more and more mainland audiences can get to know and appreciate their music.

For China Now, I'm Chen Zhe.



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