A Shaman’s Travels and Cross-Straights Pingpong (Chapt II)

Illustration: (left clockwise)
1. Her blogsite background photo
2. Family portrait, 2 brothers, one younger sister
3. Off to Taiwan, Dec. 2011, part of county music group
4. Taibei: 莺歌陶瓷博物馆 Yingge Ceramics Museum (??)
5. In front of Sun Yatsen (Han supremacist bigtime) statue
6. Sightseeing/shopping (nothing new here…)
7. At the Taibei Chamber Music Society, pretending

It seemed at first (still) a little puzzling that a truly “exotic” wanderer from the non-Chinese hills of the Southwest had made it into the China Idol finals (previous post) for 2011. Or for that matter, that her category of competition (ethnic primitive more or less) should be elevated indeed supported so soon after its approval by the Ministry of Culture (one of the guardian angels of CCTV) in 2006. Or that Li Yong, our somewhat slick program originator, should designate her as possessed an “angelic voice” (tianlai zhi sheng), a category reserved mainly for media-savvy mellifluous catwalking MTV “naifs” …One well represented by the current toplisted “voice” in this domain “Ms Tuva”, Bai Ruoxi, a model-cum-chanteuse currently in vogue on the “(Satellite) Travel” China show, where her MTV profile has leveraged her angelic looks (never-aging) rather than her very non-angelic song vocabulary – which is in the Teresa Teng mold.

Whatever else Oumuyounuo’s voice suggests, it certainly not rarification or softness, if that is what (sadly) the elusive term means to the TV public. At the upcountry, off-the-trail venues where her kind of self-trained songstress learned, the sense of free-floated beatitude comes, rather, from a uninhibited broadcasting of “throat-edness (sangyin), a kind of para-speaking with or for the invisible, to which we (third party) are privy. A triumph of spontaneity and sureness of pitch unsecured (contested even) by any kind of imposed template And thus, finally, never teachable, never a ballet exercise if repeated can indeed create an illusion of sailing or flying “up” – as angels are wont. In short a shamanism derived denomination of what “reaches/fills the skies”, the eflux of a momentarily perfect attuning. But what can this “sound/voice” have to say, how can it speak into the urban wilderness, where jackhammer hip-hop “rap” is now a sine qua non, mostwheres…

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