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Sa Dingding - The Voice

Author: 3D
Monday, 2 March 2009

Chinese folk singer Sa Dingding has one of the most unique voices on the planet. Blending native tongue, Sanskrit and her own made-up language, she has been called the trip hop Bjork. Playing Sydney opera house this month. 3D spoke with the chanteuse.

Many critics have compared the electronic elements of your music to contemporary artists like Bjork and even Radiohead. Were you influenced by Western avant-garde musicians when making Alive-
I’ve been interested in Western music for a long time; I like every special musician because they have their own style. But when I make my music I will get rid of all the influences from different kinds of music and just look deep into myself to find my own way of expression. Bjork and Radiohead are all excellent because they only sound like themselves. I believe that one album doesn’t say a lot – in the future when I have my second, third, album – or more – people will get to understand my own style.

It has often been said that you find you work best in solitude. Is this something you learnt from your study of Buddhism-
I learnt from the Buddhism that it’s important to explore yourself from observing the world. If you explore deep into yourself, you will find your potential.

I understand you play a number of instruments. In the process of recording pieces of music, how much input is there from outside sources (other musicians, producers, etc.) and how much do you do exclusively by yourself-
There are three songs that are produced by other people. For the others I composed and wrote lyrics by myself [and] when coming to arrangement, I worked with a programmer. Then I worked as my own producer. But I’m now working on my second album, and I’m working with a famous English producer, I really looking forward to the result.

During your live shows, you often share the stage with dancers, martial artists and DJs. Is the visual aspect of the performance as important to you as the music itself-
Yes, live performance is a really important part of my music. Only by listening to my music, you might not be able to understand Sa Dingding, but by seeing my performance you will understand a complete Sa Dingding world.

At your concerts, do people actually ‘dance’ per se, or are they usually just sitting stunned and watching-
Both. I think at the start people are sitting and watching, and as my performance is going on, the audience will start to get involved as part of it. They will start to move their body and smile.

Do you have much communication with other local (Chinese) or international artists of a similar musical ‘background’, and have you collaborated with any of them (or have plans to-)
Yes, I have a lot of really original musician friends in China; they are all from minority groups, and we often talk about art together. Actually right after my album was released, I was invited to cooperate with an Australian violinist call Sally Cooper for her new album. Also I have collaborated with Deep Forest, Paul Oakenfold on his new album, and recently I just worked with Howie B on a new movie soundtrack. They are all very interesting and brilliant experience.

Have you ever been to Australia before, and if not, what are you hoping to get out of your first visit to our country-
No, this is my first time to Australia. I’m very exciting for the upcoming tour. I’m curious about the audience’s feedback to my music, and I’m looking forward to seeing the beautiful country.

WHO: Sa Dingding
WHAT: Plays Concert Hall, Sydney Opera House
WHEN: Sunday 8 March
MORE: sydneyoperahouse.com. / sadingding.co.uk

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