Return to Homeland

Shen Lin

  • Year of composition: 2018
  • Duration: 8:06
  • Instrumentation: 8-channel fixed medium


The song was inspired by a true story, according to which the Mongolian Torghut groups moved west to the Volga region (1630) and finally returned to their homeland (1771). The sound materials of this composition came from the Mongolian Shawuerden dance from the Xinjiang province in China. The lyrics of the song describe a scene as follows: beside the clear lake, beautiful girls were dancing with their whole heart while parents were standing around them, playing shawuerden and singing with joy, which resounded in the valley. By modifying the shawuerden dancing music, the piece indicates that tribal people, on their way to their homeland, felt the fear of death brought up by the war and plague, and longed for life and happiness. The music begins with uncertainty, with sounds that seem to capture precise directions but are ephemeral, as well as crystal sounds that gradually open a broad view based on sounds. But soon, this formerly beautiful landscape is disturbed by very strong external sounds. The intensity of the sound pattern, rhythm, and deep chanting create a natural counterpoint that makes the discomfort increasingly intense until the sense of repression is overwhelming. Suddenly there comes a light ahead, as if a holy force was constantly beckoning and guiding you in the distance, and the vast picture of sounds flashed back into your mind.

[Source: MR 2018]

This work is supported by the China Scholarship Council. Folk-song singer: Sambuu, Wurnaa; Tovshuur: Sambuu, Lin Shen.