China may be storming the world right now, but it’s never had good luck with pop starts. That could change with Sa Dingding, a half-Mongolian singer/songwriter, who sings entirely in Tibetan over a velvety mix of traditional instruments like the zither and modern electronica. Universal’s hoping the whole eclectic, ethnic mix will make her prime iPod material, the Independent reports.
Sa’s style and ethnic eccentricities have also so far allowed her to skirt the landmine of Chinese music. China’s pop stars are typically teeny cookie-cutters because Beijing doesn’t tolerate true rock n’ roll dissension. Sa avoids politics entirely, towing the party line when asked. The current Tibet situation “makes it extremely awkward for her,” said one world music veteran.