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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However, his attitude toward traditional Xinjiang music changed while he was studying painting at the Xin-jiang Arts University in Urumqi, the regional capital.

During a folk performance, he spotted a friend, also on the rock 'n' roll bandwagon, wearing a folk costume and playing a traditional musical instrument.

"For the first time in my life, I noticed the beauty of Xinjiang folk music and realized: 'This is what I want'," he said.

After that, he began blending Western rock 'n' roll with Chinese folk elements, using the style to found a band called Qetiq in 2005.

The band earned low but livable wages by singing in bars. While performing at these venues, Perhat Halik would occasionally sneak original songs into the set, but many patrons, who were used to hearing familiar songs by famous singers, complained.

Eventually, the other members of his band tried to persuade him to stop singing his own songs and concentrate on cover versions of popular hits, but Perhat Halik insisted on continuing with his own compositions, believing the audience would come to accept his music if he persisted.

He was proved right. "Some patrons told me they felt uncomfortable if they didn't hear my songs for a long time," he said.

More recently, his mixture of traditional musical instruments such as the dutar and the tambur, accompanied by guitar and his husky voice, attracted a German musician, who invited the band to perform in Germany in 2010.

The tour was a success, and the band became popular with European audiences. Qetig now travels frequently to Europe to perform, and last year released its first album in Germany.

"The audience shows respect and tolerance to different music. They see it as an art," Perhat Halik said.

Now, he often performs in large cities such as Beijing and Shanghai, but he says he will never leave Xinjiang or his musical roots.

A man without a dream

When a judge on Voice of China asked Perhat Halik about his dreams, he replied: "I do not have a dream. I just do the things I really love. When things are done well, the dreams will come to me."

The unorthodox answer surprised many members of the audience and the judges.

"Perhat Halik is like a mirror. Looking at him, I know what I have lost these years," said musician and composer Wang Feng, who was Perhat Halik's coach on Voice of China.

A song can become popular overnight, but half a year later, will anyone remember it? It's a question Perhat Halik always asks himself.

Pureness, simplicity and hope may be what people who really understand Perhat Halik and his music feel in his songs.

"I don't understand music, but Perhat Halik's songs make me cry, and let me know I have tears and dreams," Jian Shixian, a 64-year-old fan, wrote on Sina Weibo.

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