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In A Far Away Land – A True Fairy Tale

Sep 5, 2009

In A Far Away Land – A True Fairy Tale

This is a touching song, but also a moving story.

This song, everyone can sing; the story, not many people know.

In the spring of 1939, Mr. Zheng Junli, one of China’s film pioneers was directing a film in Qinghai, and invited Wang Luobin who was also in Xining to join the work. Together, they came to Qinghai Lake.

Zheng got a local Tibetan governor’s daughter Dolma to act as a shepherd girl. Wang Luobin was assigned to be Dolma’s assistant. He put on his Tibetan robes, followed Dolma herding sheep, morning to evening.

Accidentally, Wang Luobin lashed a whip on Dolma’s horse, and her horse jumped up. Droma looked back at the Wang Luobin, seemed very happy, but also angry. Because of the language barrier, Luobin did not know how Dolma thought.

After a while, Luobin walked ahead of Dolma. She hit Luobin gently toward his back with her whip by surprise, probably as revenge to his previous accident.

Nam tso plains Tibet,བོད།  བོད་ལྗོངས།

In A Far Away Land | by {link:http://www.flickr.com/photos/reurinkjan/3333104170/}reurinkjan{/link}

They spent three days together till the film was done. Then the team left on the forth morning off Qinghai Lake for Xining. Dolma and his father rode horses, saw them off for a long way, eventually stopped on a hill.

Wang Luobin looked back on camel again and again. With the hump up and down, he was immersed in the dream world. Dolma turned into a goddess appearing in front of him: her fit body, charming smile, her gentle whip hit, … … turned into a lyrical melody in Luobin’s heart.


Nomad girl by {link:http://www.flickr.com/photos/zanzo/2114095680/}zanzo{/link}

“In the far away land, there was a fairy girl … …”

中文 English


In a far away fairy land,
there is a fairy girl.
Everbody who passes by her tent
will go back and linger around there.
She gets pink-cheek face with her smile
like a glory sun,
and her eyes are charming and pretty
like a moon that shinning in the midnight.

I would give up my property,
and go to graze with her.
Looking at her face with a smile
and her dress with golden-lace works.

I’d become a tiny lamb
running by her side,
let her always swing her whips
flipping tenderly on my body.

English Version by Liu Huan

World-wide popularity

This masterpiece soon became popular since its debut in 1939. World-renowned singers, such as John Denver (as shown at the top), Paul Robertson, Placido Domingo, Jose Carreras, and lots of others, have this song as a reserved track, singing all over the world.

Conservatoire de Paris included this song into its Oriental Music curriculum. Once, Luobin had dreamed about studying in Paris. Although he did not set his foot on Europe all his lifetime, his work has been selected into this splendid palace of art.

Wang Luobin wrote both the lyrics and music. However, “In A Far Away Land” has been known as “Qinghai Folk Song” for decades. Qinghai people are grateful to Wang Luobin for the honor he has brought to the remote land.

They invited Wang Luobin back to Qinghai in 1988, in particular for the old man to re-visit where the story had taken place. Unfortunately, Dolma had passed away long before. But the Tibetan people’s legendary goddess Dolma will be remembered for generations.

In October 1991, the Ministry of Culture awarded Wang Luobin’s music work “In a far away land” the “Gold Record Award for Special Creation”.

In 1992, “In a far away land” was voted as one of “Chinese Music Classics of the Twentieth Century”.

Instrumental version with Erhu, Pipa, Dizi(flute)

[Chinese Keywords]
民乐 在那遥远的地方

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  1. September 9th, 2009 at 21:42 | #1

    Cool story! I knew the music and had heard of it… I think.

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