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15:48 Jun 15 2009

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Tibetan rock band well blends different music elements
15:46, June 15, 2009  


Valara, the first Tibetan rock band in China, performs in the 6th Beijing Music Festival, Oct. 3, 2005. The band, set up in Lhasa in 1999, released its first album in November 2003, which enjoyed great popularity both at home and abroad. (Xinhua Photo)



However, for Tibet, a plateau on which the folk music is the norm of the day, the rock music was considered novel and offbeat. (Xinhua Photo)



Valara's bassist Tashi Phuntsok sings in the 6th Beijing Music Festival, Oct. 3, 2005. (Xinhua Photo)


The year of 2009 marks the 10th anniversary of the founding of Valara, China's first Tibetan rock band originating in Tibet's capital of Lhasa.

"We are not professional rock singers. We all have our own stable and professional jobs. It doesn't matter how we live, but how to produce quality music," said Valara's drummer Dainzin Dawa, also a music teacher in the Art Department of Tibet University.

In the summer of 1999, Dainzin ran a music bar, where throngs of music fans often gathered together. Those like-minded young men then made up a band and named it "Valara," -- a legendary sword in the mouth of a dragon flying in thunders and lightning.

Valara's drummer Dainzin Dawa performs in the 6th Beijing Music Festival, Oct. 3, 2005, photo from Xinhua.

The band has made great achievements basically because its players have perfectly blended the two different music elements -- rock and traditional Tibetan ethnic folk, said Dainzin.

Five to six pieces of their first album issued in 2003 were re-created based on Tibetan folk songs.

"In that year, our music could be heard everywhere in Lhasa. Those familiar with natural ways of singing were surprised that Tibetan songs could be sung like this," bassist Tashi Phuntsok added.

Although the compositions had been well received in the market, Valara boys were still bothered -- how to show the profound Tibetan ethnic culture by rock music.

"A good band should not be smug about its ethnic background. Even if we have abundant resources of folk songs, we must do more efforts to present our ethnic culture with rock music," Dainzin said.

In three years, they succeeded in releasing the second album. With multi music elements integrated, such as Bruce, heavy metal, folk and rap, this album was rich in lyric content.

Despite the far-flung fame, the band chooses to spend most of its time in Lhasa.

Rehearsal once a month and four performances at most a year. Recently, it has produced 40 pieces of new songs but it does not hurry to release new album.

Tashi said that if they have pursued fame and wealth, they may have been much more renowned and better off. Nevertheless, what they have valued is spiritual enjoyment from the music.

Source: Xinhua

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