Abdulla back onstage after 5 years

Updated: 2012-06-03 07:55

By Chen Nan(China Daily)

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 Abdulla back onstage after 5 years

Xinjiang Uygur singer Arken Abdulla performs in flamenco style. Zou Hong / China Daily

On a hot summer afternoon, Arken Abdulla strolls onstage at Mako Live House, a small live house venue, smiling appreciatively, maybe a little sheepishly.

His curly shoulder-length hair covers one eye and he soon combs the hair with hands back to his ears.

"I like the dim lights and graphics on the walls," says the singer-songwriter, who came from Kashgar in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region.

"I miss everything about a live house," he adds, as he announces his return after a five-year gap.

One of the country's biggest ethnic pop stars, Abdulla will perform in Poly Theater in Beijing and present songs from a new album, Night in the City, which, like his past work, experiments with rich rhythms which have long underpinned even his gentlest love songs.

When the 33-year-old came to the mainland's pop music scene in 2002 with his flamenco-and-Latin mixed songs, music lovers were overwhelmed by his exotic style.

After performing at 2004's CCTV Spring Festival Gala, Abdulla released his first album, One Thousands and One Nights, which received commercial and critical acclaim and led his second performance at CCTV Spring Festival Gala in 2005.

Being in that spotlight not only made his following three albums successful but also stressed the songwriter.

In 2007, he left the stage and went back to school, Minzu University of China, to learn musical theory and traveled to Spain to absorb flamingo.

"My parents never put much expectations on me and I've never had much ambition for my career. Freedom is crucial for my life and songwriting, however, I lost it when fame came to me," he says. "I needed to slow down and live a real life."

The concert, called Night of the City, came from one of his new songs, talking about the fast city life, which is also Abdulla's personal experience.

Abdulla back onstage after 5 years

During his absence from the music scene, he got married and became a father of three. A settled-down life inspired him in another way musically.

He says that before he had a family, he could go anywhere with his guitar. But now he has a different life attitude.

"I used to be an angry man, feeling lonely in the big city. But after having my family, I feel stable and content. Days with my family make me slow down and regain inner peace," he says. "I want to share the night with audiences, not only my music but also my changes."

In his new album, he recorded voices of his children and mixed with his new songs, which continued his flamenco style. The travel during his break also made him discover many instruments from Greek and Turkey, which he will bring on the stage.


(China Daily 06/03/2012 page15)