Percussive words

Nobody wanted to go karaoke today. 😦 So I turned my room into my own singing haven for the day. 😀 Music really has an infiltrating effect on the soul, I feel almost like I’m dancing my way into town just from singing in my own head. The rhythm and the melody resonating with something inside seem to uplift me into a different world. Although I must say, the meanings of the songs can be very melancholic or even depressing.

I used to sing a lot for the cathartic effect it has on my life, but only in a closed room with close friends. Friends would pick songs, prepare the lyrics, together with their romanised pronunciations (hanyu pinyin), and then we would just take timeout to sing after school. That was pre-karaoke times, and it was really fun. When I entered Uni, I was introduced to the world of karaoke, and uni mates would pick videos that came with hanyu pinyin, and we would sing during breaks in the studio too. For some reason, Chinese songs are so much better for singing karaoke! I do wonder now, was it because of the implicit meanings hidden in between the words and the lines, giving it so much room and challenge at the same time for furtive expressions?

By the time I got to China, I had outgrown hanyu pinyin! There would be pauses (and chuckles) now and then as I would misread characters and be really puzzled why they sounded different from how I sang them years before. Having a dot, not having a dot, and the relative position of the dot, change the meaning and pronunciation of the character. For example, 大、太 and 犬 are different (google them!).

Here is another song that blew me away. Yup, still harping on the youtube marathon that extended till the rest of today. I love this song for the very strong, almost percussive, rhythm of the words. It was only today that I started taking an interest on what exactly the lyrics meant, rather than just knowing how to pronounce in order to sing them.

It is also today that I realised how contorted my understanding of the Chinese culture is. For the longest time, I had classified this (in my own head) as a Chinese classical story. It could have been the music, it could also have been it being way before my time, or it could just be plainly my messed up version of history that the famous author whom I endearingly remembered as Thirty Cents (Sanmao.. heh) is someone from some age-old dynasty. :s But it is nothing of the above. Fake news, tsk!

This song came about in the 90s, from a novel which was adapted into a screenplay, and it was written as the theme song of this screenplay. The story is set in the second world war, about how a female novelist fell in love with a Chinese traitor working with the Japanese. The lyrics talk about the vicissitudes of human life, and hence the title 滚滚红尘. Taking it literally, it just means rolling red dust (heh!). But the meaning of this word (four characters read as a whole) is the continuous and ever-changing ups and downs of leading a human life. I feel some kind of helplessness in it, and at the same time, some entanglements from past life karma (the concept of past lives seem to be inherent in the Chinese culture) and therefore the resignation to fate.

It’s a really poetic song. I shall read the novel first (or at least watch that super old movie) and then decipher the lyrics line by line. Another addition to the task list of things to write about. 🙂 Or maybe decide by then that any explanation to such poetic language be too explicit and brute, and leave them in their romantic vagueness.

3 Comments Add yours

  1. dronstadblog says:

    Good song. I like the rhythm too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. leapingtoes says:

      The rhythm of each group of three words is a stab to the heart… hurhur.
      来易来 去难去 数十载的人世游 –> So easy to come together, but so difficult to pull away and leave; how we go in circles as we pass through lives after lives.
      分易分 聚难聚 爱与恨的千古愁 –> So easy to fall apart, but so difficult to stay together; the sorrows of thousands of years of love/hate(intertwined).

      Liked by 1 person

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