Sa Dingding was born in Inner Mongolia (China) to a Mongolian mother and a Chinese father. She is a multi-instrumentalist, playing the zhen (a Chinese zither with 25 strings), Chinese drum, Chinese gong and horse-head fiddle (a bow-stringed instrumental with a scroll carved like a horse’s head). Her musical mentors include the famous Chinese music producers Zhang Hong Guang and He Xun Tian.
At age 18, she released her debut album and quickly earned repute as the Best Dance Music Singer in China. By 1998, her curiosity in Buddhism, Dyana Yoga and Sanskrit unleashed her creative spirit and pushed her musical boundaries. Buddhism taught her to express with her heart and connect with nature, the meditations of yoga built up her inner peace and spiritual being, and learning Sanskrit encouraged her to create her own language, where new words formed from emotions evoked by music.
She is also well versed in Tibetan chanting and chorus singing in the near-extinct Lagu language. Her secret to honing so many disciplines is solemnity. “Loneliness is the best way for me to become more creative,” she said.
Sa Dingding created a powerful and sophisticated sound by fusing the music of Chinese folk traditions and minority religions – including Tibetan Buddhism – with Western dance music and electronica. This is overlaid with her strong, haunting voice to create a uniquely appealing sound.
In 2008 she won the BBC Radio 3 World Music Award in the Asia/Pacific category for her Alive (Universal, 2007) album released by Wrasse Records in the UK.
Sa Dingding’s albums newer albums have become more pop oriented.
Author: Angel Romero
Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music music for many years. He founded the websites worldmusiccentral.org and musicasdelmundo.com. Angel produced several TV specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World.