Monday, March 02, 2009

Ge Wo Yi Ge Wen (Give Me a Kiss) - My First Jazz Song in Chinese

Also, have a listen at:
Vocalist: Coco Zhao Ke
A Chinese favorite based on the music of Patsy Cline's early 50's Hit "Seven Lonely Days" with a new title and lyrics.

Our mother used to sing Chinese songs of the 50's and 60's to amuse us. Today we still reckon that she has a very good voice. After all she taught some singing as a temperary primary school teacher. However she will just smile and it is her turn now to be very amused whenever we want to get her to sing! Along with her singing we gained a lot of information about music and movies. There was not much info during those days. We would go to the cinema to catch a good movie and then sang along the songs whenever they were played in the radio. We bought the occasional movie news to update our grandmother Lian Tie. There were no concerts at all in Sibu at that time. Furthermore we did not have singing lessons. So one of the most entertaining part of our life was really the singing from mum.

One of the songs she used to sing was Zhang Lu's Seven Lonely Days. She would sing it in English (bits and pieces here and there) and then in Chinese. The Chinese version is called " Give me a Kiss". It wasn't a translation at all but a different song actually with the jazzy tune. We had a lot of fun then. I never knew then that it was the first jazz music appearing in Shanghai during those early days! Today i try to attend all the Miri Jazz Festivals over the years and listen to a lot of jazz music to find joy and relazation. Perhaps mum did bring that budding jazz bug into our blood!

Furthermore until today mum would say to us "You kids all speak in think I don't know English? I do know some...." That still amuses. We have so much new kowledge today from the internet. And Shanghai where our father grew from a Sibu born boy into a worldly young man became a very desirable topic of conversation. We loved to hear things about Shanghai.

Afterall "Shanghai is not only the most important commercial city of China, but in the first half of the twentieth century it was also one of the most important centres of Chinese culture. The most talented artists all lived in Shanghai, making it the busiest place for publishing. The city was a place for the exchange of Eastern and Western culture, and of the Chinese economy and commerce. "

My grandfather was fascinated by the movies so he and my second uncle built a cinema in Bintangor (Binatang) called The Eastern.(That perhaps will be another story)

We also learned that Shanghai and Hong Kong as places where movies were made. That got us all dreamy and starry eyed. "In the 1930s and 1940s almost all the pop singers in China were in Shanghai. Female singers were more popular than men, and the most famous of all was Li Xianglan and the big five, Zhou Xuan, Bai Guang, Wu Yingyin, Zhang Lu and Yao Li. Show business in Shanghai was not only for stars, but also a place formany creative composers and musicians. Some, like He L├╝ding and Huang Yijun, were from the Conservatory, but the most productive composers were Chen Gexin and Li Jinguang, the twin stars of the early Chinese popular music." Singers like Zhang Lu and her good friends Yao Li have been with us for a long long time. Zhang Lu's passing a few weeks ago did not catch much attention in the press but I am glad that at least her life long and good friends turned up for her memorial and her family (husband and two sons) are keeping her memories alive by dedicating a garden to her memory.

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