In the northwestern edge of China along the ancient Silk Road, music is one of the hottest commodities. Permeating every corner of the province, it is vibrant and infectious. Yet, around the music lies a troubling reality. The region’s main population—the Uyghur Muslims—gradually watch their numbers dwindle as they are engulfed by Han Chinese settlement.
Apprehensive about life choices, Ay turns to music for answers. She is drawn to musicians who mirror her struggles in their songs. Silk Road of Pop follows Ay’s influences and idols, revealing traditional music culture in Kashgar, metal bands, and hip-hop crews who practice in basements of old communist block towers.
Silk Road of Pop explores what it means to be young and Uyghur in China, showing how music becomes a tool of liberation for a minority trying to assert its identity in a repressive environment.