Our lesson preparation team wasn't sure what to make of this song. As Nicole put it while translating the lyrics, "I love the music and it's a real classic, but now I'm forced to actually listen to the lyrics I'm wondering if they make any sense...." The video below takes a while to get to the song: listen to the introduction which mixes mandarin with Cantonese or jump straight to the music which starts about one minute in.

The song was written for Cantonese by Kenny Bee, lead guitarist for the most popular Hong Kong bands of the 1980s, using a melody adapted from an older Japanese song. If you're in mainland China and have trouble accessing Youtube, try listening to this version hosted on Youku.com.
 said on
January 14, 2011
Wow, she's really good. After watching that clip, I clicked one of the recommended links (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p-OA9H2_wco) and it was another contestant singing Leslie Cheung's (張國榮) song 追. Is it common for Taiwanese people (or TV shows) to sing Cantonese songs?

 said on
January 15, 2011
Yeah. Really good choice for a song too.
 said on
January 15, 2011
Can anyone tell me the name of this singer? My girlfriend reckons she went to school with her... :|
 said on
January 16, 2011
@chiuyan

The singer isn't Taiwanese. She just took part in that Taiwanese singing contest. She's from Singapore and is fluent in both Cantonese and Mandarin.

@mattjelly,

The singer is 阎奕格 (Janice Yan). I heard that she went to Boston University.

--Nicole
 said on
January 18, 2011
Ahhh hahaha. That's her! Janice Yan! Oh that's made my day!

Yeah, I think she may be in Boston at the moment, I didn't know she came from Singapore though. At any rate, she definitely went to West Island International School in Hong Kong around the age of thirteen where she sang S-Club 7 with my girlfriend in assembly. Haha, oh my.

Let me just bask in that reflected glory for a little longer...

Okay, moment over.

When abouts was this recorded? Is this a current competition?
 said on
January 18, 2011
@mattjelly

Wow!! What a small world!

Yeah, she spent some time in Hong Kong. The video was recorded in July 2010. She won the competition of 星光傳奇賽 (Stars and Legends, a spinoff of 星光大道) last August.

The competition 星光大道 is really big and popular in Taiwan, like the Taiwanese version of American Idol, but only for singers. It has been running for seven years.
 said on
February 12, 2011
Why does the judge from Guangdong fear hearing Cantonese songs (from 4:10 onwards)? He says: “因为我觉得很硬很硬的。” What exactly does he mean?

I've heard a lot of Cantonese songs but I can't hear the difference between her and other Cantonese singers (in terms of technique). Don't get me wrong, she's an amazing singer, but I don't understand why he describes her Cantonese singing as 顺. Or is he referring to people who don't speak Cantonese fluently and try to sing Cantonese songs?
 said on
February 12, 2011
IMHO... I think he's just referring to sound of Cantonese in general, not her pronunciation or anything. What I heard him saying is that Cantonese, I guess partly because it's got glottal stops (unlike Mandarin), always sound kinda "hard" = 硬 to his ear. I think I know what he means but I can't quite explain what makes a language sound "hard" rather than "harmonious" or "flowing" (as opposed to "abrupt") as I would translate the "顺" here.

Try listening to the original:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9mmm-XvqEUA

and wait for the line "此刻有種種心痛" Then compare it with how she sings it. I think that should answer you question ;)

Philipp

 said on
February 13, 2011
@terrineedstodream @Benrose

Hi Terri & Philipp,

What he meant by "很硬很硬的" is that a lot of non-native Cantonese speakers (mostly Mandarin speakers) sing Cantonese songs with an accent in their pronunciation. Actually the host's speaking of Cantonese words are a perfect example of this (from 0:21 where she says "點講啊dim2 gong2 aa3, how do you say that" and the title 讓一切隨風). I'm with him on this. Most of my Mandarin speaking friends sound 很硬很硬的 when they sing Beyond's Cantonese songs in KTV as certain words are pronounced wrong or replaced by a similar Mandarin sound. But it has nothing to do with the singing technique. They're good singers, most of them.

He used 順 to describe her because he was impressed by how fluent and native she sounds in terms of the pronunciation, and also because he didn't know that she's a native Cantonese-Mandarin bilingual.

Hope it answers your question.

-nicole

 said on
February 13, 2011
@nicole

Thank you! That answers my question :)

On a slightly related topic, I do love the older Cantonese songs. I think the lyrics are a little more beautiful and poetic (in comparison to Mandarin songs). You can even see that in those multi language instruction leaflets, ie. from a beauty product. You have a Mainland China section in simplified Chinese with more straightforward diction, and then you have the HK section in traditional Chinese with more poetic diction. Or is this just me? XD
 said on
February 14, 2011
@terrineedstodream

I can't agree more! That's why we've been choosing older songs for the KTV lessons. And on the leaflets the simplified Chinese version is pretty colloquial actually -- perhaps because written and spoken Chinese nowadays are not that different, but the tradition do use written and a more elegant diction.

your name:

leave a comment: