La’i is a form of Tibetan love song. It is most popular in eastern Tibet where I lived for seven years in my teens. I watched men and women approach each other singing La’i while herding, working in the fields, or especially, in festival settings. If things went well, they would exchange memorabilia and set a new date to meet again. The character of the music is lyrical, slow in a free tempo, with quick moving throaty grace-notes decorating an overall simple melody. The decoration forms a special notation to the melody, a unique feature of La’i.
When I first heard the singing, I was struck by the beauty and overtly romantic feeling, as well as by the natural unruly wild emotion the music generated. This work is loosely based on the impression of the La’i singing.
La'i (Love Song)