All posts tagged: Pop Star

Sufi Poetry and Ablajan Awut Ayup

The Uyghur-language songs of the teen heart-throb Ablajan Awut Ayup run on a loop through the heads of many Uyghur tweens and young urbanites in Northwest China. Taking cues from Justin Beiber, the ever-popular dance moves of the late-Michael Jackson, and the pretty-gangster affect of Korean pop-stars, Ablajan is a self-styled chart-climber; he is a self-made song-and-dance man. Whether  you love him or hate him, the fact remains that he has cornered the Uyghur youth music market by tying clever songwriting with catchy beats. Yet beneath this veneer of auto-tuning, dance rhythms, and theatrical spectacle are melancholic questions. His songs tackle contemporary social issues in a major-key; on the upbeat they cheerfully report the serious problems inherent in rapid urbanization, the erasure of local lifeways, and the pollution tied to unsustainable planning. Ablajan indexes Sufi imagery to the rhythms of electronica, the harmonies of Chinese children’s music and aesthetics of pretty-boy pop not in a negative process but in order to generate language, to catalyze new conventions. His cheerful performances are thus heteroglossic movements — …