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June 14, 2011

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Ethereal crossover singer in concert

SINGER-SONGWRITER Sa Dingding is famous for her haunting voice and ethereal crossover songs and fans of the world music star can hear her in a concert on July 9 at Shanghai Grand Stage.

"I assure you that it will be a special night for everybody, unlike any concert that you have been to," says Sa, promising lots of audience participation and a dance party, like the one at her Beijing concert.

Sa is of Han and Mongolian ancestry and sings in Mandarin Chinese, Mongolian, Tibetan, Sanskrit and an imaginary self-created language to evoke the emotions in her songs. She also plays traditional Chinese and other musical instruments.

While Sa is preparing her third album, this concert will focus on works in her two previous albums.

She became a hit with her first album "Alive" in 2008, when she was just making music to please herself, and didn't expect it to be officially released.

It features haunting voices, etherial crossover songs and a combination of Western electric vibe and mysterious, primitive and ethnic music from the East.

"With all that unrecognizable words, I thought that the album would just be an underground work," says Sa. It went double-platinum.

That album won BBC Radio 3's World Music Award for the Asia-Pacific Region that year; she was the first Chinese to win that award. In 2009 she was nominated for a Grammy. She performs at world music festivals around the world.

Her second album "Harmony" (2010) also went double-platinum on the Chinese mainland.

She grew listening to ethnic music with her grandmother on the grasslands of the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, and she remembers her grandmother's singing.

"When I hum melodies spontaneously, these fragments from my grandmother will just occur to me and became the words of my songs," says Sa.

That style will continue in her third album, which is to be released next year. The new album won't have a geographic theme, like the previous two ("Alive" for the Tibet Autonomous Region and "Harmony" for Yunnan Province). It will be more general, she says.

For the new album, she will remove the complicated costumes with ethnic element and present a simpler image. "It will be the Sa who just woke up," she says.

"All those complicated costumes and decorations are partly my symbol and attraction, but I won't have them become my limitation," she says.

All the ethnic clothing, accessories and exaggerated makeup helped make her popular, especially in the West. But she says that without them, she and her music are still essentially the same.

It's the music, not the costumes, that she wants people to remember.

Date: July 9, 7:30pm

Venue: Shanghai Grand Stage

Address: 1111 Caoxi Rd N.

Tickets: 180-1,280yuan

Tel: 6327-3990


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