Arts, Culture & Media

Global Hit - Sa Dingding

A Chinese pop musician who is making waves outside her country. Sa Dingding is 25 years old -- and is sometimes compared to the Icelandic pop diva Bjork. But while Bjork often speaks out to criticize China, Sa Dingding is proud to represent her country. The World's April Peavey has today's Global Hit.

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Sa Dingding is a musician -- not an athlete. But in this Olympic year -- she's carrying a torch for China too. Sa Dingding sees herself as a cultural ambassador for China. And she takes that role seriously.

SA: The most important thing for me as a musician is to introduce more Chinese culture to the western people and to be the bridge between the western people and the Chinese people.

Sa Dingding is well known in China. And she's quickly becoming a sensation in Europe. Last month Sa Dingding picked up a prestigious BBC World Music award. She's also received invitations to play concerts in Ireland, Hungary, Spain and Algeria. Sa Dingding hopes her biggest engagement this year will be in Beijing - during the Olympic games. But she's not discussing the details -- yet.

SA: Everything is not confirmed.

As China's unofficial cultural ambassador, Sa Dingding can't avoid getting caught up in Olympics-related controversies right now. Like the China - Tibet debate. Sa Dingding was in London on the same weekend as the Olympic torch.

As pro-Tibet protests started to heat up -- the singer told the British press she SUPPORTS her government's policy toward Tibet.

But Sa Dingding also says she champions Tibetan culture. Her latest album even has one song in Tibetan. It's called Holy Incense.

SA: I had never been to Tibet. So, after finishing the album I made a trip there four times.
Sa Dingding says her four trips to Tibet opened her eyes. Before these trips she regarded Tibet as mysterious and unknown. Sa Dingding tend to shy away from the political debate over Tibet.

She really doesn't like to answer questions about it. She prefers to talk about her music -- and all the good things both China AND Tibet have to offer. This leaves Sa Dingding open to the criticism that she's just a puppet in the hands of the Chinese government.

But that's not stopping Sa Dingding. She returns to Europe in July.

For the World, I'm April Peavey.

Check out April Peavey's blog: Producer's Backstory at PRI's The World

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