From rock 'n' roll bandwagon to the music of the desert

Updated: 2014-10-24 07:59

By Cheng Lu Xinhua News Agency(China Daily)

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From rock 'n' roll bandwagon to the music of the desert 

Perhat Halik performs on the TV talent show, Voice of China 2014, where he shot to fame after claiming second place. Provided to China Daily

Every time musician Perhat Halik stepped onto the stage of the TV talent show, Voice of China 2014, he exuded a calm presence, seemingly unperturbed by his lack of Mandarin and the host of famous singers in the studio audience.

His husky voice has gathered quite a following in recent weeks, leading the 32-year-old Uygur to take second place in the show.

He did his best to sing songs in Mandarin to appeal to the audience. But in the end, it was his unadorned, unmistakable voice and attitude to the music that fascinated fans.

However, his voice wasn't appreciated by everyone who heard it, and his rivals could often be heard criticizing his songs, saying they were tuneless and hard to understand.

Consistent with his serene stage-presence, he is equally composed when facing criticism.

"I came to sing a song, not for a title. I want more people to know my music," Perhat Halik told Xinhua in an exclusive interview. "I believe music can affect all people, regardless of ethnicity and national-ity."

Taklamakan music

"I want to go back to childhood, lying in your arms, sitting behind you on a bike, Papa. I want to eat noodles cooked by you, wear a sweater knitted by you, steal a cookie from you, Mama ..."

Perhat Halik often dedicates his songs and music to his parents, both of whom have passed away. The emotion with which he imbued each song when performing on Voice of China moved the audience, earning rapturous applause, despite most peoples' inability to understand the lyrics, sung in Uygur, the language of Perhat Halik's home, the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region.

He said wherever he goes his love for his hometown and family are the inspiration and soul of his songs.

His was born in Makit, a county in Kashgar prefecture, in the Taklamakan Desert. Despite living among several different ethnic groups known for singing and dancing, Perhat Halik showed little interest in Xinjiang folk music as a youngster.

At the age of 6, he found a broken guitar while rummaging through things at home and began playing it every day. When the guitar became unusable, his father sent him a new one as a gift, cementing his path into the world of music.

Still, he showed little interest in the folk music of his hometown.

In the late 1990s, he became part of the rock 'n' roll movement that swept across China, growing his hair long and obsessing over heavy-metal music. At one point, he considered a tattoo, he said.

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