Home > culture, music, video > Tibet’s “天路” (“Heaven Road”)

Tibet’s “天路” (“Heaven Road”)

The video below is about the 青藏铁路 (Qingzang railway) connecting Tibet Autonomous Region’s Lhasa and Qinghai Province’s Xining. Much of the 2000km railway is an engineering marvel. One, for it’s 5000 meter elevation and rough terrain and another for where the tracks have to work on top of permafrosts (where the ice could melt depending on the time of the year). It opened in 2006 connecting the autonomous region to the rest of China’s railway networks. Singers 阿兰达瓦卓玛 (Alan Dawa Dolma, or simply known as Alan or 阿兰) and 韩红 (Han Hong) performed “天路” (“Heaven Road”) in tribute to this important project that Dr. Sun Yat-sen had first proposed around the turn of the century.


(Tudou version)

Han Hong is already a super star in China at the time of the above video. Her mother is Tibetan Chinese. Alan is Tibetan Chinese too, borne in Sichuan Province. In this performance, Alan duns the PLA uniform. She actually graduated from the PLA Art Academy based in Beijing.

Shortly after graduation, she signed on with Japanese record label Avex Trax. She is also known in Japan under the name アラン (and alan).

In response to the 2008 Sichuan earthquake, she performed “Shiawase no Kane” at a Tokyo Sichuan charity concert. All profits from that single also went to aid victims.


I first heard of Alan from the Jon Woo Chinese block-buster, “Red Cliff,” where she performed the movie’s theme song. Below is the Japanese version:

Alan was trained as a vocalist. She also majored in the erhu instrument at the PLA Art Academy. My favorite performance by her is “天路” (“Heaven Road”) in the solo below:

(HiDef audio version from Tudou.com)

If you’d like to try to listen to this song the way I do – get a decent earphone, turn up the volume, hit play and then close your eyes. I can sit still for 30 minutes having this blasting in my ears. Translated version of the lyrics below:

At dawn, I stand upon the green grassland
I see a magical eagle bathed in ruddy light
Like an auspicious cloud soaring through the blue sky
Bringing good luck to the Tibetan people

At dusk, I stand atop the tall mountain peak
I see the railway built to my hometown
A colossal dragon soaring through the mountains
Bringing prosperity to the snowy plateau

That is a magical Heaven’s Road
Bringing the motherland’s warmth to borderlands
Mountains are no longer high, journeys are no longer long
All ethnic groups unite as one

At dusk, I stand atop the tall mountain peak
I see the railway built to my hometown
A colossal dragon soaring through the mountains
Bringing prosperity to the snowy plateau

That is a magical Heaven Road
Bringing us to paradise on earth
Barley beer and butter tea will taste more sweet
Joyful songs echo in all directions

That is a magical Heaven Road
Bringing us to paradise on earth
Barley beer and butter tea will taste more sweet
Joyful songs echo in all directions

Joyful songs echo in all directions

  1. April 30th, 2011 at 00:20 | #1

    Since the Dalai Lama is such a political hot-rod used by the West against China, I feel “Tibet” itself has been discolored and her vibrancy somehow sucked out of her in the Western perspective.

    With Alan and Han Hong, it is actually quite easy to add life back in. Stay tuned for more to come.

  2. silentvoice
    April 30th, 2011 at 00:33 | #2

    alan also sang “Diamond”, one of the Inuyasha Ed/outros.

  3. April 30th, 2011 at 00:41 | #3

    @silentvoice



  4. April 30th, 2011 at 00:41 | #4

    Interesting the top comment on that video says this:

    Pure beauty! And so innocent! Very good voice. I am sick of western video clips full of sexuality and girls shaking their bottoms.

  5. April 30th, 2011 at 00:46 | #5

    The thought I have for someone like Alan is that as long as people in China have talent – that in combination with know-how and taste (and in this case the Japan record label Avex Trax’s), will have opportunity to make it.

    The value of “girls shaking their bottoms” can be challenged too.

  6. May 2nd, 2011 at 05:14 | #6

    Beautiful post. China’s “richness” gets lost in their wealth. So much more than an economy.

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload the CAPTCHA.