Hotan: These photos were taken in August 2002 in Hotan, Xinjiang, China. They are from the massive weekly Sunday market, one of the biggest in central Asia. Much of what you see here probably doesn’t exist anymore. Hotan has changed. The clothes people wear and the artisan trades are fast disappearing. Above all, Hotan is no longer so remote. What was once a hard 600 kilometer bus ride through the desert is now an easy train ride from Kashgar.
The Music on the video is from a Uyghur group called Qetic. The song is called Tarim.
I am uploading a couple of Uyghur songs that I’ve got hooked on recently.
The first, by a group called Qetic, is called Izlidim. It’s an incredibly beautiful and catchy pop song. I’d love to know what the lyrics mean (can anyone help?).
The second is a far more traditional song; Tar Kucha. The video that accompanies the song shows parts of the disappearing traditional life of the Uyghurs and has some interesting images of (correct me if I´m wrong) old Kashgar, much of which has now been demolished.
If you want to catch a bit of Uyghur music while you are in Beijing try the 31 Bar on Houhai Lake. Most nights a group of young Uyghur musicians get together for an informal session of mixed Spanish and Uyghur music. The musical talent of these guys is something to behold. Drink prices are normal Houhai prices: 20/25 yuan a beer.
Hotan is remote. It is one of those end of the world places beyond which begins one of the world’s largest deserts, the Taklamakan, an enormous area of sand dunes and barren rocks forming some of the most hostile terrain on earth. Boiling in summer, freezing in winter, towns like Hotan hang precariously to the desert’s outer ring, hemmed in by the looming Kunlun Mountains that rise up to the Tibetan Plateau. Over the centuries, many other once thriving oasis towns like Hotan have succumbed to the advances of the Taklamakan, and their half hidden remains lie buried in the sand, a poignant testimony to the harshness of the environment.