Sometimes it takes a bit of exploration and discovery to retrace our roots. After over a decade living away from home, Tibetan singer Tashi Phuntsok decided to return to his native town of Lhasa and buy a bar. Our reporter Han Bin sat down with the 26-year-old to discuss the importance of the ancient Buddhist city, and his dream of combining local folk music with Western rock'n'roll.
"My Tibetan name is Tashi Phuntsok. I grew up in Lhasa. My impression of Lhasa is that it’s a city able to bring people a sense of peace and belonging. It’s true that Lhasa has changed in many aspects, for example, its architecture, atmosphere and so on. But people still live a simple and peaceful lifestyle," Tashi Phuntsok said.
"Tibet is an inclusive place. Buddhism is an inclusive religion. It’s the right place for creating folk music. But personally I like Rock 'n’'Roll. I want to do both, and see where that takes me.
Tibetan musician Tashi Phuntsok
"I came back to Lhasa in May 2012 and took over this bar. Because it’s located on an ancient street, I decided to call it 'Old Street Bar'. I hope my bar can help promote the culture of Lhasa and not just make money.
"I love live shows. I think Tibet is a great place for creating music. There’s a sense of roots here and music is about finding your roots. We want to try something new, but we also hope to keep something we already hold. But, that’s something can only be felt by the heart.
"In 1998, I went outside Tibet [elsewhere in China] for junior high school. There I came into contact with more people, diverse cultures and massive information, and as a result, more musical elements. I’m a curious person and eager to learn.
"Buddhism was a big part of my childhood. What I learned about the attitudes toward life and faith from my ancestors took hold in me, and can’t easily be changed.
"In the past, music was my dream. Now music is a part of my life, the most important part. In the future, I want to focus on Tibetan music and go on the road throughout China."