Halin is flying high

Halin's voice sounds like "something between heaven and Earth". ZouHong / China Daily

Known as the "Mongolia Enyaand a real-life princessthe singer is about to make her debuton the Beijing stageChen Nan reports.
Singer Halin recalls a spring day school outing when she was 6 in her hometown of Ejinain theInner Mongolia autonomous regionA nomad passed bybowed and addressed her as "dearprincess" -startling her classmatesShe is from one of the four major subgroups of the FourQirats of Mongoliaand her mother's father was prince of the 13th generation of the Torghutclan.
The clan moved west to Volga in 1630 after the Four Qirat Alliance collapsed and returned toMongolia in 1771.
The group of about 300,000 people and 6 million animals suffered from raids and starvation,and was reduced to just 85,000 survivors after eight monthsbefore settling near the Ejin River.
"I have been called 'princesssince I was born," says Halinwhose name in Mongolian means"flying high".
"My mother told me never to forget my identityIt's my faith," the 27-year-oldwho now lives inBeijingsays.
"I grew up with the family legends and received a lot of respect because of my blood line.Though the times have changed and we live ordinary lives nowthe spirit of our family stillremains."
When she was growing up there was no TV or otherdistractionsshe saysjust folksongs and storiesabout her family and clanShe adds that her grandmawould sing when she cookedsewed or worked in thegarden and this inspired her to singtoo.
Halin believes her family history as a Torghutdescendant helped mold her distinctive voice andstage presence.
"My vocal range is wide because I sang and shoutedeverydayI can easily hit the high and low notes."
Known as the "Mongolia Enya", Halin will hold her firstconcerts in Beijing on Nov 25 and Nov 26 at CenturyTheater.
She has an exotic appearance and wears a mishmash of self-designed ethnic clothingbanglesand feather earrings.
She typically sings century-old Mongolian folk songs that express her love of her hometown.
She learned Mandarin at 6 and became a soldier at 13, following her parentsbidding becausethey wanted her to be an independent and confident personShe continued her studies atMinzu University of China when she was 16.
She recorded her first song at age 16. The four albums she produced before 2007 were all inMongolianHer 2011 album is the first on which she sings in Mandarin.
"A friend of mine told me lots of bars in LijiangYunnan provinceplay my songsI wassurprised to hear my music has traveled so far," she says. "It makes me believe good music willalways be recognized."
Her friendactress Wulan Qiqigegrew up with Halin in Ejina and is a loyal fan.
"She usually writes lyrics and reads them to mewhich vividly reminds me of our hometown," the26-year-old actress says
"We live in Beijing and listen to all sorts of musicI also like Jay Choubut I believe Halin'ssongs will last."
Halin's parents were not keeninitiallyabout her becoming a singerpartly because of herlineage and also because they wanted her to have a stable life like her younger sisteragovernment officer.
"But I think that singing about my hometown is a way of spreading Mongolian cultureAnd sinceI am a princessI have a responsibility to do this."
In her songsshe advocates protection of the grasslandsportrays the beauty of the rivers andmountain and tells of her childhood.
For her upcoming Beijing concertsHalin willperform with Altan Uraga Mongolian folkband formed in 2002 that combinestraditional Mongolian and contemporaryinfluencesTheir music was used as abacking track for such movies as 2006'sKhadak and the 2007 epic Mongol.
"I want audiences to experience genuineMongolian music that comes from our hearts," Halin says.
Composer Qin Wanming has been Halin's producer since her debut album and was responsiblefor naming the two concerts "Mongolian Princess".
"We had several optionsbut I think this one is bestIt defines the singer," Qin says.
"Her voice sounds like something between heaven and EarthI can feel the belieflove andyearning she expressesIt's like the Torghut's return to the eastan epic that cannot to beduplicated."
(China Daily 11/18/2011 page20



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