Toggle Main Menu Toggle Search

Open Access padlockePrints

Whose Xinjiang? Space, Place and Power in the Rock Fusion of Xin Xinjiangren, Dao Lang

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Jo Smith Finley



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC 4.0).


In this paper, I explore how geo-political territory (Xinjiang, tr. ‘New Dominion’), regional identity and cultural ownership are transmitted, represented and contested through lyrical texts, musical styles and instrumentation in popular song, as well as through visual texts in pop music videos and new media (e.g. YouTube). I examine two singers popular among the region’s urban youth in the past decade: Arken ‘Guitar King’, the Uyghur singer who embodies a style of pop fusion known as ‘New Flamenco’, originally inspired by the Gypsy Kings; and Dao Lang, a Sichuanese (Han Chinese) immigrant to Ürümchi who paints himself as a Xin Xinjiangren - ‘new Xinjiangese’ - and draws on traditional Uyghur musical instruments to infuse his rock versions of Chinese revolutionary classics. I analyse how the production, transmission and consumption of oral, musical and visual texts is manipulated by artists and audience in order to represent contrastive regional identities: Xinjiang as an inalienable part of the New China vs. Xinjiang as a space open to and influenced by Central Asian, Middle Eastern and Western cultural flows. In doing so, I emphasise how the language of the coloniser is increasingly the vehicle through which urban Uyghur youth (since 2002 educated in Chinese-medium schools) transmit these alternative identities.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Smith Finley J

Editor(s): Hayes, A.; Clarke, M.

Publication type: Book Chapter

Publication status: Published

Book Title: Inside Xinjiang: Space, Place and Power in China's Muslim Far Northwest

Year: 2016

Pages: 75-99

Print publication date: 14/12/2015

Acceptance date: 01/06/2014

Series Title: Routledge Contemporary China Series

Publisher: Routledge

Place Published: London, UK


Library holdings: Search Newcastle University Library for this item

ISBN: 9781138780798