Friday, December 22, 2006

"Raping Tibetan Music is Prohibited" by Tashi Dondan

When the singer who sang the Golden Mountain of Beijing attended the “Forum of Tibetan Music” in Chengdu, she tactfully criticized the phenomenon that some ethnic music have overly relied on “packaging” and have followed the path of popular music.

It is true that we need to emphasize the importance of the national element. I really hope that the one who made the above comment is Yadong or somebody else, but not her. I always hope that people will examine themselves first before they criticize others. It is indeed laughable if the “pot calling the kettle black (literally “ the one who fled fifty paces laughed at the other person who fled a hundred paces and called him coward), but it will make people angry when “the one who fled one hundred paces laugh at the other person who ran away for fifty paces”. Up to now I still do not understand how much national element there contains in the songs sang by her, and I even doubt whether her songs can be called music. I would rather hum the popular songs in our mother tongue than listening to those songs which bootlick others.

It is perhaps because I do not feel the happiness of those “liberated serfs”, after all I was born in the so-called era of happiness. My father once said to me, “you will be a person who will know how to fight for your freedom.” I think even if I was born in an “unhappy” era, I would still be able to strive for the freedom for myself and for people I love.

I fully understand it is rather “malicious” for me to put forward such a hypothesis about the past, but it coincidentally caters to the world view of some non-sense experts who do not respect history. Such songs as “the Mystical Heavenly Path” and “Oh, the Beautiful Qinghai-Tibet Railway” sang in the Tibetan New Year Party” sponsored by Tibet TV Station in 2006 made me disappointed at Rongdrong Ergya, and I do not exude tenderness and ‘love” for Han Hong any more. I believe that is not [real] music, and the music itself is not like this. Though it is beautiful to sing praises of the happiness, it will definite cause people to doubt the nature of the music if such songs enrage the audience so much that they will even shout abuse or get into a free-for-all.
I am risking my life to take the liberty to say the following word --- I would rather see Tibetan songs being completely sinicized and even its lyrics are in Chinese than listening to political songs of yours. “People should not be so shameless!”

2. It is not possible to bring about the transformation of Tibetan music into ethnic music simply through criticizing it. Nevertheless, in all fairness, “commenting on it” also has some impact. It is just like those people who urgently appeal to “preserve Tibetan culture, even though they have not done any significant things to preserve Tibetan culture in real life, yet their comments have also had some impact on people who take real actions. Lu Xun once said, “ There was originally no path in the world, it becomes a road after people have treaded on it. As the popular saying goes “Rome is not built in one day”, I think it takes time to preserve Tibetan culture and to transform Tibetan music into ethnic music. We need people to step forward and discuss such issues, but we need more people to actually work to improve the situation.

For example, when the “Vajara” band and the “Nine-Eyed Stone Zig” band sang some classic folk songs, these songs become eternal again, and it enables more people to remember the lyrics. Another example is the beautiful folk song known as Aku Palma in Amdo. I have four versions of the same song: the Guitar, pure dranyan (lute), rocking roll and Indian styles. Once an older brother sang for me Aku Pelma without accompanying in music, and I recorded the song with a tape recorder. Whenever I have a free moment, I will listen to it. Without accompanying music, it has some noises as well, but it is very beautiful. Many times I imagine that I was born on the grassland of the Snow-land for my previous life as well. The grassland near the lake of Korkornor, where there are black tents and white lambs beautiful as clusters of stars, has supported my ancestors, my family and me. Here we praise though songs the beautiful grasslands, lakes, mountains and brave eagles. But those who sing praises of the railway will never understand such happiness.

I believe as long as there is still one person who is producing Tibetan music, I am sure he will influence a large number of people to follow his footsteps. The reason is rather simple: as long as you plant a seed in another person’s heart, one day it will definitely take root and sprout.

3. A philosophical view considered to be the truth holds that every person has its own world. I think I do not have the ability to have all Tibetans to be fond of Tibetan music, after all, each follows his own bent. Even if I have such ability, I will not demand those who are fond of popular music to produce ethnic music. If I do so, am I not the same as those hooligan politicians?

A friend wanted to translate the song “Life” by the rock band “Vajara” into Chinese, but the result of his translation is rather plain: some couples get along very well with each other some children have great suffering…” It is apparent that the style and subtleness of the song was lost in the process of translation. Each culture has its own unique feature and flavor, indeed it is not a good idea to “rape” each other.

Tibetan music is powerful. I hope that those beautiful folk songs can be preserved, and also hope that the mainstream of Tibetan music are the ones with our unique ethnic features.

Many Tibetan singers have fallen into an indescribable vicious cycle. I can not define the style of their music, but it is definitely not Tibetan music.

Hope some people who produce music can hear my voice.

Wish Tibetan music would become more beautiful.

(1) 2008-1-27 18:33:00 | By: the Angry Tsampa

What you said is really classical. I strongly support you!!! What they raped is far more than our music.

(2) 2008-1-25 14:36:00 | By: by Tashi
We, the new generation of Tibet, are proud of the Vajara band. Only they are willing to express our innermost thoughts, and they have generated sympathetic responses from us. We will always support them, and similarly we will do our best as well.

(3) 2008-1-21 14:50:00 | By: visitor LPGs38

As the popular saying goes, human is like iron, but food is like steel.
This world is so cruel! If one has enough money, who would be willing to be an escort girl? I want to puke when I see those men. But what else can I do? I do not want to die of hungry. Are you going to give me money?
(4) 2008-1-15 18:13:00 | By: zhaxiluozhu (Tashi Lodro)

I really like the Vajara band. They are doing their best to create their own songs, but there are not many people who appreciate them.

(5) 2008-1-6 15:46:00, By: zuqiuwoaini (football, I love you)
Just like the sisters (Aja), they only know how to sing the old songs again, and they are not creative, but still they are so famous.

(6) 2008-1-4 17:17:00 | By: Tsedron
I strongly support it.

(7) 2008-1-2 22:10:00 | By: Gonpo Tashi

I support you, the owner of the blog.

(8) 2007-12-31 12:47:00 | By: tibetst
What you said is great. These are all problems. We need somebody like the owner of the blog to point out the problems to us. This is a happy event, and we should support it. At this time we can not say “I do not know what you have done for your nationality?”, what we need to do is to respect other’s effort. I do not know whether the one who says that “do you feel like you are living in a world of freedom in New York” has ever done anything for his nationality. But aren’t those who have brought up these issues doing something for our nationality? Can it be that one has to do something for his own nationality before he point out the problems and mistakes?

(9) 2007-12-30 8:47:00 | By: Repa
Dear owner of the blog, Please make your invaluable suggestions for our column “Think about Tibet in One Hundred Years Later”

(10) 2007-12-30 8:26:00 | By: Repa

The blog owner’s opinion is right. As a singer, the most important thing is to have his or her own ideas, and Tseten Drolma lacks this. I am not blaming her for lacking her own thought. It is probably that a certain historical period has produced a generation of people like her. Well, she did not know about it during the “Cultural revolution”, but she should realize her error and repent now. I hope that is the case. As a poet, a writer, a musician and a singer, the key is to have his or her own thought, otherwise, he or she will either be cursed by posterity or his or her name will be remembered for generations after generations. It is a pity that these has such a beautiful voice, and it is really a pity and it is a waste of talent for her to sing those garbage songs.

(11) 2007-12-28 14:03:00 | By: The love in the Grassland
“If one wants to save others, please save oneself first!” Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us! Please take care!

(12) 2007-3-27 19:36:00 | By: Wanzi (Pill)
I strongly support it.

(13) 2007-3-22 13:53:00 | By: Xueyi (Snow Ant)
I suspect that Hanhong does not even speak Tibetan, otherwise, why hasn’t she sung Tibetan songs?

(13) 2007-3-22 13:46:00 | By: Lala

I strongly support it.

(14) 2007-3-21 18:01:00 | By: lantian (blue sky )

It is really understandable that you worry about Tibetan music. Many times we also have similar thought about it. But your way to express it is a little bit too extreme. Indeed there are many problems for Tibetan music, and one of the problem is what course to take. However, to be honest, those singers you criticized are not the arch-criminals as you portrayed. They are singers produced at a certain historical period, and under the circumstances, some made their choices which are meaningful, but sometimes they had no choice.
If we truly compare what they did is right or wrong, to be honest, they did things right more than they did it wrong. I think we should at least show them the respect they deserve. Furthermore, we should not associate the carnal questions of right and wrong of the nationality with the specific jobs of these singers. In my opinion, the real reason is not them, it is the circumstance of a certain era and the fate determined by this environment. The improvement and progress of the fate, in fact, is related to every one of us. As far as art is concerned, it is not just the singers, the more important reason is the professional groups which produce music.

The reply of the blog owner:
I want to let you know that many times I blame myself for not doing enough, not doing a lot or not doing well enough. Why do I do that? It is all because I am a Tibetan. Tibetan regions are in such dejected states, and I believe this has something to do with me and with all Tibetans. We can term it as responsibility or the historical commitment. We must should our responsibilities.
Then when we talk about Tibetan music, who should I find to be the scapegoat? Is it possible that singers are not the ones whoa re responsible for it? Whatever the groups behind the singers want them to sing, they will sing it. This is precisely the problem. Facing the choice between their job prospect and the dignity of the nationality, they chose their job prospect! Everybody ahs his own thought, and nobody is so stupid, therefore, their current music is their choice. No matter whether they made the choice as they were helpless and had no other choice, the reality is this.

Thank you for your suggestions which have enabled me to see the other side of the issue.


22 December, 2006

Translated from Chinese
View the original here
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