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Two Songs

November 8, 2007

Ye Lai Xiang ( 夜来香 )


 Vaniahuebsch in her page has the above song sung by Fei Yi Ching (费玉清–小哥的复古专辑)embded from youtube.  She went on to put a translation in her page and mentioned how much she loves this song.  I made an attempt to translate a stanza and later found out that her published translation is not hers but a copied version from another place on the net.  Sigh, I should have known.  But at least I made a blog friend and as a gift, I decided to send her a DVD of a very old Teresa Teng concert by snail mail to Germany. 


I further youtubed this song and found one sung by Li Xianglan and at that time it felt like I was in my brother’s house in Vermont.  My brother was crazy about Bai Guang’s (白光) songs and often he would turned on her music very loudly for a certain party or for an  entire evening for a few hours.  As usual, I wikipedia this song and found that both Li Xianglan(李香蘭) and Bai Guang(白光) were  Seven Great Singing Stars (Chinese: 七大歌星) of the 1930s.  I also found a few movies with Li Xianglan(李香蘭) in it where she spoke Japanese. ,


With more searching and probing, I found out that Li Xianglan (李香蘭) is still alive, her life is a legend and many books (and movies) were written about her.  After many, many more searches, I learnt a lot about her and could not help but tipped my hat for this legendary Yoshida Yamaguchi (淑子山口).  But I like her other songs too(also available on youtube), like Shina No Yoru – 支那 and Soshu Yakyoku 蘇州夜曲 .  These songs are at least 70 years old (and even had many versions in other languages) but I still found them very fresh.



Bong Chun Hong 望春風(or wang chun feng)

As a kid, living in Chinatown, I was exposed to many Chinese songs.  A couple of Mingzhu sisters (明珠姐妹) songs remain in my head for a long, long time as a kid, mostly children songs like 蜗牛鹊鸟, , 红菱 etc.   Then the sisters disappeared from the limlight.  And to my surprise, their voices reappeared when Royston Tan successfully made his 881 Getai movie.  This movie has a theme song, 野花晤通找 (pronounced “ya huai mmm tang chuai”) containing lyrics from the Taiwanese Folk song, Bong Chun Hong 望春風.  Many songs I know, one could catch the lyrics after several hearings.  But 望春風 was one I could never catch even after years of listening.  I think mainly it’s because my hokien has not reached an "intellectual level”. 


Now that the internet is readily available, I looked it up and it still took me two weeks just to learn the song w/o looking at the lyrics.  Teresa Teng has a "learn to sing" version on Yahoo-Music-China (with too many Aiyohs), Divid Tao (陶喆)has a revised A Capella version that has mandarin replacing the second stanza (actually there is a swf file created for this song but I could not find it on google now), Hitoto Yoh attempted the Hokkien part then went on to sing her Japanese version, even elementary school students sing this song in music class.  I learnt that the writer of this song 李临秋, was young when he  wrote it for the movie (Xi Xiang Ji 西厢记) and carefully chose his words (see 大纪元), and it eventually became the underground university song for undergrads in Taiwan.  I felt a certain affiliation to this song.  so much so that I’ve decided to teach my almost 3-year-old daughter to sing it.  


From → Music

One Comment
  1. If you’re interested in “Shina No Yoru”, I posted the original 78rpm version by Watanabe Hamako on my blog :


    Ceints de bakélite

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