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China Daily Website

Peripheral vision

Updated: 2012-12-21 09:27
By Mu Qian ( China Daily)

Haya has also performed throughout the Chinese mainland, Macao and Taiwan, and abroad in Sweden and Germany.

"What we make is world music based on the Mongolian traditions," Zhang says.

"I hope our music will appeal to not just Mongolians, but also people of various ethnic groups."

Half of Haya's repertoire is adapted from traditional Mongolian folk songs, and the other half is original compositions. Almost all songs are sung in Mongolian.

They use Mongolian instruments such as the morinkhuur fiddle and tobshuur lute, as well as Western instruments like guitar and bass.

Zhang has spent a long time searching for his ideal musical language. He has performed with symphony orchestras, pop musicians, rock bands and jazz groups.

"I'm a Mongolian, and the Mongolian blood is always in my veins," he says. "But as someone who uses an Apple computer and drives a German car, I don't want to repeat traditional music, because I live in modern age."

Related: Play, your own way

After he founded Haya Ensemble, Zhang decided he wanted to make fusion music that combines Mongolian music with other elements.

"Mongolian people have created some of the most beautiful melodies in the world, but we don't have much in terms of rhythm," he says.

"If we put rhythms from, say, the Middle East, in our music, we create something new."

For Daiqing Tana, performing with Haya is a process for her to rediscover the most original state of singing.

After four years of vocal study at the Minzu University of China, she found that she could not adapt to the mode of China's mainstream vocal pedagogy.

She tries to give up the academic method of singing and goes back to the "edgy" state, where she feels comfortable to express herself in a simpler way.

"We are at the edge, but we hope more people from the center will get to know us," she says.

At the concert on Saturday, Haya will perform some of its most popular songs from the last six years. Apart from the show, the audience will also be able to enjoy an authentic Mongolian lamb meal.

Contact the writer at muqian@chinadaily.com.cn.

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