[My Gang] Sa Dingding - Ha Ha Lili : Reco of the Week 16 Feb 2010


Feb 16 2010, 18:21

Track: Ha Ha Lili (天地记)
Artist: Sa Dingding (萨顶顶)
Album: Harmony (天地合) Feb / Mar 2010
Tags: , , , , , , , ,
Video: Click the pic...

YouTube official video

Gong Xi Fa Cai (恭禧發財) Happy New Year!

It was the Chinese Year of the Tiger the same day as Saint Valentine's. To commemorate the occasion, I have chosen Sa Dingding (萨顶顶) this week and her new single Ha Ha Lili (天地记), from her album Harmony (天地合), due for UK release 8 March but available now on iTunes and streaming here in Last.fm. It has already gone double-platinum in mainland China just for pre-order.

First there is harmony between people and nature, and then everything can come alive.

The album explores balance: between East and West, the past and present, Heaven and Earth. Musically, it reaches from the roots of Chinese ethnic music to contemporary electronic sounds. All songs are in Chinese except for one, Lucky Day, her first in English and an homage to Michael Jackson, recorded four months prior to his death.

Writing about the video on her website, Sa Dingding says:

This music video of a perfect explanation of Ha Ha Li Li. The inspiration of this song comes from an old legend from Wa people living in Yunnan province,(southwest of China). It’s a beautiful story talking about a golden rooster kicked off a big tree which connected the earth and the sky, and earth and the sky has been separated and everything came to alive.

So in this music video, I’m acting 4 kinds of spirits in the MV, spirits of tree, spirits of flower, spirits of mountain, spirits of the universe. It’s a very abstract idea talking about the creation of the world.


传说中天与地连在一起 永不分离
勤劳的人们和那些神奇的动物生活在山洞里 啊咿
下过雨的清晨 一束光照着树神
沉沉的鼓声 阵阵震醒山洞里的人
沙啦啦啦啦 伴着节奏急促的脚步
沙啦啦啦啦 人们的心在跳 跳
沙啦啦啦啦 金色公鸡带来了传奇

ha li li ha li etc.


I learnt of Sa Dingding two years ago when she was nominated for BBC Radio 3's World Music Awards, which sadly no longer run. Her debut album, Alive, was a quietly impressive piece of work and I was pleased she won in her category.

Harmony, the follow up to Alive, is upbeat and cheerful, leaning towards pop and dance. Sa Dingding says:

Harmony is an expression of my thoughts and my life from spring 2009. When I was recording my first album I realised there are too many things that bother people and I wanted them to find calm from my music. Now I realise actually only by finding a balance between humanity and nature can people get this calm. If people found calm from Alive, I hope they find joy and happiness from Harmony.

Be sure to listen to Paul Oakenfold's remix of Ha Ha Lili, which can be streamed on Sa Dingding's official site. I'll warn you, it's a tiny bit cheesy but I still enjoyed it.
Ha Ha Li Li - Paul Oakenfold Remix

Sa Dingding herself is an artist to watch. Talented, focused and accomplished, she masters everything she starts. The rest of us may promise ourselves we'll learn a new language with each year's resolutions; at the age of 26, Sa Dingding has taught herself Sanskrit and the near-extinct Lagu language amongst others. Further, she has invented her own and written songs in it. 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). Alive wasn't her real debut, it was Dong Ba La eight years ago under the name Zhou Peng (周鹏) which won an award.

In performance, Sa Dingding's style is elegant, traditional and modern, and beautiful. Her aesthetic is sophisticated but edgy, both polished and trendy. Her love for culture, history and spirituality pervades everything she does, her enthusiasm breathing new life in the re-telling. It is for her inventiveness and creativity that she has been dubbed 'The Asian Björk'. For me, the difference is: Sa Dingding makes the old and challenging palatable, Björk takes the ordinary and makes it extraordinary. The magic and the effort is the same.

Will the Year of the Tiger be lucky for you? More precisely, it is the Chinese Year of the White Metal Tiger and the year of 4707. You might also see it described as the year of the Golden Tiger. White and gold are both colours of metal, gold is a symbol of prosperity, so this could be a lucky year for some. The year will end on 2nd February 2011 when it will become the Year of the Rabbit. You are a tiger if you were born in these years: 1902, 1914, 1926, 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, and 1998.

Further reading:

Timesonline: Sa Dingding, the Asian Bjork
BBC Radio 3: World Music Awards 2008 Asia/Pacific
BBC World Music Awards 2008 - winners
Blogspot: Sa Dingding - Ha Ha Lili (The Story of Heaven and Earth/Tian Di Ji)
Blogspot: Sa Ding Ding - Harmony (review)

Babs My Gang

Reco of the Week archives

Disclaimer: Mines

Admin: Stats as of today:

Last.fm listeners of this track - 83
No. of plays scrobbled in Last.fm - 279
Position in Last 7 Days: 1 / 35
Position in Last 6 Months: n / a

Date Added: January 11, 2010
Views: 4,457, Ratings: 26, Comments: 12, Favourited: 51 times

Stats after 7 days:

Last.fm listeners of this track - 103
No. of plays scrobbled in Last.fm - 356
Position in Last 7 Days: 9 / 26
Position in Last 6 Months: n / a

Date Added: January 11, 2010
Views: 6,437, Ratings: 35, Comments: 17, Favourited: 63 times

624 Unique Visitors
705 Page Views

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  • IanAR

    Thanks, Babs! V'Nice w/ nymphs & tigers too :) Ian x[sub] Born Tiger[/sub]

    Feb 17 2010, 16:54
  • rwitte

    What a wonderful piece of research! Again! And the graphics are great! All this, and I also enjoyed the music! Thanks, Babs.

    Feb 17 2010, 20:58
  • Babs_05

    Thanks for reading and the kind comments, guys.

    Feb 17 2010, 21:43
  • Soundhog

    Informative and entertaining as usual. Go Babs : )

    Feb 17 2010, 23:38
  • Babs_05

    Thanks. :)

    Feb 17 2010, 23:47
  • IanAR

    A week, & 16 plays, later - I've just pressed the love-button, on this :)

    Feb 25 2010, 10:34
  • msnaddie

    I loved the album "Alive", but I'm not too sure if her other genres would be just as good. I'll be giving it a try, anyway :)

    Mar 4 2010, 6:07
  • IanAR

    Tagging for the latin-based title seems to be drifting toward Ha Ha Li Li, so I've dup'ed my tagging there. I've, also, tagged 萨顶顶 (天地记) & 萨顶顶 (Sa Dingding) streamable track wants - Ian

    Mar 7 2010, 13:04
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