Wild Tune Stray Rhythm


An extraordinary  musical project inspired from songs and rhythms of Western China and Central Asia, using opera structures with folk songs and the musician’s own compositions and adaptations.

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Reviews for Wild Tune Stray Rhythm

“[…] most oddly compelling albums of the year”  Robin Denselow – The Guardian 

“There’s much roots music to discover, with powerful elements from the traditions of the Uyghurs of the Xianjiang, Tibet, Mongolia, and elsewhere.”  fRoots

Short Info

The expression Wild Tune Stray Rhythm comes from the Chinese Opera and refers to music which is slightly out of tune and rhythm. The series includes “Three Dakinis are Discussing”, and “Ashik Castle” (instrumental). These are musical projects inspired from songs and rhythms from Western China and Central Asia, using opera structures with folk songs and the musician’s own compositions and adaptations. The aim here is to create a new musical entity as well as using the differences between the musicians to the advantage of a greater communication.

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Wild Tune Stray Rhythm consists of a first “chapter” called “Three Dakini are Discussing”. The inspiration for this chapter is Tibetan music, as well as Tibetan Opera. Tibetan people always see life with a touch of good humor, their music tells of animals and nature, of gods and girls without much drama. DaWangGang hangs on to this touch of humor and has adapted texts and rhythms to accommodate the musicians described above. Ideally, the concert would be accompanied also by dances and by light games, and performed in theaters.

Three Dakini are Discussing begins with a deep drum sound and a simple dance. In traditional operas of Tibet and India, the beginning of an opera is given to the gods as a hope for their blessings. Dakinis are godly Buddhist female figures to which in this opera Da Wang Gang gives them human characteristics.

The first piece is a short opera, Talking About Birds: the piece discusses birds, initially thinking that birds are lucky because they don’t need to think where they are flying to. Whatever comes will bring them something good: a wave will bring them water, the grasslands will bring them to eat, a rock will allow them to rest. The second part of the long song evolves into a more rhythmical and humorous piece when the lyrics pend some time dwelling on the uselessness of some birds, the big goose, who thinks she is the prettiest and yet her mouth is full of mud, or the Eurasian Hoopoe, a pretty bird of North-Western China which stinks so bad no one ever wants to get near it.

Follows an instrumental part inspired by a Tibetan saying that the best water always flows to the other’s field. An inspiration to generosity, one should give the freshest water from the mountains to one’s neighbor.

After the instrumental piece, back to the short opera form with lyrics: Wo Suan Shenme Hao Han (What Kind of Hero Am I?) is questioning (always with a grin) the values of a true hero: “I went up the mountain to melt down all the snow, no snow should be left, otherwise what kind of hero would I be?”.

Norbulingka was the palace where the Dalai Lama would spend his summer months; but today Norbulingka has become a zoo, and there is a very thin bear who lives there. Thin Bear is instrumental piece, remembering times past and thinking of the irony of a thin bear. It is followed by The Sad Song, the dramatic part of the opera, where a woman is sitting on the shore of a river, the water is singing to her about the swans who fly South during the winter. Before the swans leave, they bring their young swans to the river as a farewell.

San Zhong Ma (Three Kinds of Horses) is the next instrumental piece, which leads to a humorous song called San Daoshang Peng Dao Yige Zhoushi (Three Monks Bump into a Prayer Man- the kind of prayer man who reads out texts when someone has died).

The next and last piece is divided into three, and draws back to opera characteristics for its composition and length: Zhu Tian Yueguo Bianjie (Crossing Borders). The Himalayas constitute the border between India and Tibet. Culture and Religion among other things have crossed the Himalayas for centuries, but while crossing, the culture and religion change, adapt, evolve, become something new. People take what comes from over the border and make it their own. This song is more particularly about a huge group of gods crossing from India to Tibet. Their weightlessness should make them walk in silence and lightness, and yet they chatter and dance and become as heavy and noisy as humans. The three parts of the song follow the departure, the crossing of the Himalayas, and the arrival. It is accompanied by dance, just like the first piece of the opera. Three Daikinis are Discussing is a series of songs linked together.

Producer/Recording/Mixing: Song Yuzhe /Dawanggang studio; Mastering: Duan Xiaolin/Nice tune studio

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1-Meeting Two Wizards on the Mountain Road

Don’t mention alcohol or its flask
Today a splitting headache
Don’t mention the tender lover
Our roads just split this morning
Don’t mention the steep mountain road
The old horse cannot turn back
Don’t mention the bell’s ding dang
Meeting two wizards
Everyone says they can speed clouds across the sky 
Yet I still have to give them way
The bell in my face ding dang 
Fierce wind is sweeping over the tongue
The bell is already far away
Ding Dang already far away
In the distance only two pieces of red cloth
Gu Huhu Gu Huhu
Ga Hehe Ga Hehe

2 Talking About Birds (2)

Condor ah, condor 
You pervert of a bird
Your head is even barer than a graveyard
You eat only the meat of the dead
Hoopoe ah, hoopoe
You big-headed bird
Covered in silk like a queen
Your wings fanning away your bad smell
Turtledove ah, turtledove
You vain silly bird
You like sitting on the highest branches
But your beak does not utter a single sound 
Raven ah, raven
You nuisance of a bird
Wrapped in black like a knight
Yet when the battle arises you look like a shrew
Big goose ah, big goose
You big arsed bird
Head high taking steps like a nobleman
Your beak full with mud
Big elephant ah, big elephant
Big elephant ah, big elephant
Big elephant ah

3 Liberate No Man’s Land

4 Four Ways

One hive of bees, one way 
From the bear’s head to the bear’s toes
The pangolin, one way, 
All the mountains have the same height 
The scatterbrained badger, one way
From the “ginseng fruit” sniffing to the point of the arrow
The rutting wild donkey, one way
From the red willow rushing to the poisoned wolf grass 

5 Lion’s Tomb 

6 For Children

Great monastery
Scriptures from India
A concentrated monk
Not easy to find, not easy to find
A big city surrounded by six loops
Promises are even lighter than paper
Wish to hear words from the heart
No way, no way
The nets of the mountain kids ah
They glue the birds down Pleng Pleng Pleng 
Fish jumping out of a hole
Tsliu Tsliu Tsliu
Ka Lalala
The old men mount their horses
Sing two sentences for you
Wolves haul to the moon, moved
Hawks shake their wings, relaxed
Give you an incantation 
Wong Zeng Ga Yiseng Jing
Seventy feet long instrument strings in the hand
Zeng Zeng Zeng 
Er Er Er Er
Zhi Er

7 Thin bear (Simple version)

Fish respect the sea
They even shit in it
Flowers rever the sun
They even dare to look it in the eye
Ahyiyi Ahyiyi
The temple hall of dance and worship
The crow despises the bat
The goddess of heavenly song has her foot on the weeds
Joy was given up for worldly beings
The park indulges in a song with a dance
Really making the wild beasts envious
Trampling along with the old man’s drumbeat
Unnoticed enters a thin bear
Da Dong Dong Da Dong Dong

8 Hunter 

The hunter has one big eye, one small eye
The brown bear has a loud voice, the black bear has a low voice
The children look like wild shallots on the mountainside
Their heads covered in mud, hidden
Mother is like the bent tree at the home entrance
Her lower body in the earth, she is waiting


9 Money Gods

This version of Money Gods is based on both Taoist and Buddhist chants dedicated to the god of money. The sampler is taken from ambiance noises of a trip from Beijing through China, there are noises of streets, temples, environment, voices, shores of a lake near a holy mountain and more.

10 Talking about Birds 1

Birds don’t need to think where they are flying to
Sometimes flying towards the cliffs
Sometimes scraping the crest of the waves
Birds don’t need to think where they are flying to
Picking a straw of grass on the cliff
Drinking a sip of water on the wave-crest
Having a rest on the golden temple roof
Singing out over the head of the vagabond
The birds flying upstream gather in high places
The birds flying downstream gather in low places
Only the cuckoo flies in the middle
Flying in the middle
The compassionate god is hard to come upon
 wearing clothes of silky clouds, becoming a god after many lives
often sprinkling holy water with a willow branch which does not fear the autumn
colorful clouds under the feet, a nine-headed lion on the way ahead
praying from a thousand places he will come from a thousand places
often carrying people on the river of desire 
Dearest, don’t be afraid
I want to calm you down
Dearest, don’t be afraid
I will calm you down
Dearest, don’t be afraid
I can calm you down
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Here is a live snippet from Dawanggang’s first European CD. Enjoy this classy talk about the birds!





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