All posts tagged: Möminjan

The Blind Voice of the New Silk Road

Perhatjan performing in the second segment of the Voice of the Silk Road  This week was the screening of the seventh segment of the first round of The Voice of the Silk Road – a show that hundreds of thousands of Uyghurs watch every Friday night at 8 pm local time on Xinjiang TV Channel 9. People like the contest because they can watch their favorite performers joke around with each other; they can see people they know perform or imagine themselves performing in their place. Uyghurs see themselves trying on a performance mode popularized by mainstream English and Chinese-language versions of the show, but instead of English or Chinese pop ballads and American and (largely) Han stories of unrecognized talent, on this show they see the reverse. They largely see Uyghur folk songs, classical muqam and pop music; and they mostly hear Uyghur stories of personal triumph. The Voice of the Silk Road is a celebration of an amateur love for Uyghur music. The contestants sing because they love to sing; they sing because they …

A Uyghur Chinese New Year

The Uyghur language Spring Festival song and dance spectacular “New Xinjiang, New Melody” is back! After a five year absence following the disasters of the Year of the Ox, the Xinjiang Ministry of Culture in association the Bureau of Public Relations has welcomed in the Year of the Horse with a line-up of all the usual Uyghur superstars. Headlined by Abdulla (53:25) and supported by Möminjan (51:45), Six City (42:32), Ablajan (22:59), Berna (15:55) and a host of others, the event was intended to introduce a “brand-new Xinjiang style” to the nation. The multicultural event even featured a Han singer Wang Jian (39:19) singing a famous song from Kumul in Uyghur and the write up for the concert boasts of Hui, Kazakh, Kirgiz and Mongol involvement in the performances. Perhaps the most moving moment came with the great Ekber Qehrimin singing “Oasis Poplar” (Tёrek Bostan) (26:37)  – a heartbreaking classic from the golden age of the 1980s. Here’s to a year in Xinjiang where moments of happiness like these come often.

Möminjan, Turkish Pop, and Islamic Devotion

Beginning with the very first cassette tape he released in 1999, Möminjan has been popular with young people. One of the main ways people experience music in the city is in nightclubs where the music envelopes the tight confines of a room and the pageantry of moving to the beat with friends and strangers comes to life. Uyghurs can dance. And Möminjan’s songs were eminently danceable. Not only is his voice remarkable similar to his uncle Abdulla, but Möminjan is a suave performer. He’s likeable. Even in his early days when he was still studying archaeology at Xinjiang University, his fellow classmates elected him president of the student club of his institute. Möminjan’s path as a musician has diverged from other performers in interesting ways. Unlike other young singers who made it big, he has not tried to cross over to a popular Chinese audience. He doesn’t even sing Chinese translations of traditional or “red” folk songs. Instead, beginning in 2003 he began to sing in the Uzbek and Turkish style. Möminjan’s goal in doing …

Success Stories and the Pop Star Möminjan

Of all the performers in the upper echelon of Uyghur pop music, Möminjan is perhaps the most widely traveled independent artist. Möminjan, and his brother the famous composer Ablet Ablikim, grew up in the shadow of their famous uncle Abdulla, the King of Uyghur pop. He and his brother have been following in their uncle’s footsteps for over a decade; they even recorded a song together called “We Brothers” (Qerindash Biz) which sounds a bit like a Uyghur version of the Everly Brothers. As an Archeology student in the History Department at Xinjiang University, Möminjan developed interests outside the family business. In the mid-2000s he went through the long arduous process of obtaining a passport without an Ürümchi hukou and went to Malaysia to study English. After he came back he recorded a song called “I’ll be Home Soon, Mom.” In the song Möminjan takes on the way life apart from one’s family puts an almost unbearable strain on family relations. Using a novel form of theatrical performance, Möminjan performs the way dreams can be …