The CLUAS Archive: 1998 - 2011


Alan Dawa Dolma is her name, a mouthful for a pop star. But this ethnic Tibetan - from China's southwestern Sichuan province bordering Tibet - has become the most successful Chinese artist in the lucrative Japanese popular music market. She got to number three in the Oricon weekly charts - the Japanese music-sales-statistics-collecting equivalent of Billboard - with her 9th single since moving to Japan in 2007: 'Kuon No Kawa.' The uber-urbanised Japanese have a penchant for ethnic fare and travel to remote territories.  Maybe that helped Alan Dawa to win a 2006 audition of 40,000 hopeful Chinese artists by Japan's Avex Trax label. The Japanese have taken to artists playing the erhu, a mournful Chinese fiddle. Alan Dawa was a child prodigy of the instrument and has since mastered the piano, though the songs she's recorded, mostly written by Japanese producers, are mainstream smiley pop affairs.

 Alan Dawa Dolma

A devout Buddhist, Alan, as she's known is also practised at the traditional Tibetan wail, a demanding high-pitched style synonymous with Tibet. The tunes are used to sell goods in mainland China, where Tibet in the popular mindset is a mystical, pure-aired Chinese province. Recently I've spotted posh Beijing hotel the Opposite House using Ban Ya Ka La, toiletries marketed in a Tibetan style but made in Shanghai, and only the latest in a wave of cash-ins on Tibetan themed products in China.

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Nuggets from our archive

2004 - The CLUAS Reviews of Erin McKeown's album 'Grand'. There was the positive review of the album (by Cormac Looney) and the entertainingly negative review (by Jules Jackson). These two reviews being the finest manifestations of what became affectionately known, around these parts at least, as the 'McKeown wars'.