When music is enough

By Chen Nan ( China Daily ) Updated: 2017-05-13 07:28:28

When music is enough

Sa Dingding performs at Tango Club in Beijing. [Photo Provided to China Daily]

Lack of a common language has never been a stumbling block for award-winning singer-songwriter Sa Dingding, Chen Nan reports

Chinese singer-songwriter Sa Dingding was the first artist that UK music producer and composer Marius de Vries worked with who spoke no English. But when they met in London several years ago, both of them immediately felt uncomfortable trying to communicate through an interpreter.

"We made the interpreter wait outside and then we had the interpreter go home," De Vries remembers.

The result was a collaboration in 2009 on Sa's second album, Harmony.

"We made this album without talking to each other," recalls De Vries, who recently visited Beijing during the 7th Beijing International Film Festival. Harmony will be released in vinyl album by Universal Music this year.

After they met, De Vries came to Beijing for four weeks. They started the album from a collection of sounds that Sa recorded from Yunnan province, such as percussions and people's footsteps. Among the 11 tracks, the two wrote three songs together, including an English song, Lucky Day, for which De Vries wrote the lyrics.

"The first thing that struck me was her voice, which is unique and full of personality. It was an alluring first exposure to her music," the producer adds.

De Vries has worked with the likes of Madonna, Massive Attack, Elbow and Bjork over the decades and is best-known recently for his role as music director and music producer for the award-winning musical La La Land. Working with Sa, whose music is filled with ethnic Chinese music elements, was a fresh learning experience.

"I felt that I wasn't finished with this place," he recalls of the day when they wrapped up the album and he left Beijing.

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