Monday, December 26, 2011

[Music] Frances Yip - Shanghai Beach

1. It is common to classify a Chinese singer as either an idol-type or a talent-type.

The two categories, of course, are not mutually exclusive.

An idol can have talent and a talent can become an idol.

Frances Yip is definitely a very talented singer.

In a career that spans over forty years and is still going, Frances Yip has recorded more than 80 albums.

But to most Chinese, Frances Yip's signature song will always be "Shanghai Beach".


2. "Shanghai Beach" is the theme song of a Hong Kong TVB's television drama of the same name that was aired in March, 1980.

Curiously, the official English translation of the TV drama is "The Bund".

TVB should have opted for the most appropriate "Shanghai Beach" instead of using the rare word "bund".

The drama is a period piece set in Shanghai in the 1920s when China was in turmoil.

(But when in the 150 years before 1980 was China not in turmoil?)

The music and lyrics very powerfully expressed the emotional impact of a drastically changing era on a people and on the individual persons.

As Frances Yip said, wherever she performs, the audience will not let her end a performance until she sang "Shanghai Beach".

And Frances Yip has performed in over 30 countries on 5 continents.


3. A search in YouTube yields many instances of this song.

A concert version of the song in the original Cantonese:


4. This version has the Cantonese pronunciation hard sub into the video:

Those who do not speak Cantonese can follow along.


5. A Mandarin Chinese (or Putonghua) version of the song with different lyrics:

More than one person commented that the Cantonese original sounds much better.

I concur.


6. In this version, the video are scenes from the 1980 TV drama:


7. I like the video of this version:

Frances Yip first sang in Mandarin and then Andy Lau sang in Cantonese.

The video is most appropriate for this song.

The actor in the video is Andy Lau.


8. A Vietnamese cover version of the song:


9. The music in classical guitar:

Very good.


10. Frances Yip is so grand in this concert version:


11. A Cantonese cover version:


12. In this cover version by Andy Lau, there is both the Cantonese lyrics (top) and Mandarin lyrics (bottom):

Andy Lau sang the song first in Cantonese and then in Mandarin.

There is no doubt that the Cantonese lyrics are much better than the Mandarin ones.

As one person commented in YouTube, the Mandarin lyrics lost the "powerful mojo" that was in the Cantonese.

Yet the Mandarin lyrics were written many years later than the Cantonese.

One should not tinker with a classic if one cannot do it better.

Are there reasons other than musical for the Mandarin lyrics?



13. The arrangement and accompanying musical instruments for this version are very interesting:


14. Vietnamese parody of the song?

Funny video!


15. A very competent Vietnamese cover version (first and third part):


16. Frances Yip performs the song in a Malaysia concert in 2011:


17. The Cantonese Lyrics in Traditional Chinese:

上海灘 - 葉麗儀

浪奔   浪流

是喜   是愁
成功   失敗

*愛你   恨你   問君知否
轉千彎   轉千灘

#又有喜   又有愁
仍願翻   百千浪

重唱 *,#

仍願翻   百千浪

18. The Cantonese Lyrics in Simplified Chinese:

上海滩 - 叶丽仪

浪奔   浪流

是喜   是愁
成功   失败

*爱你   恨你   问君知否
转千弯   转千滩

#又有喜   又有愁
仍愿翻   百千浪

重唱 *,#

仍愿翻   百千浪


19. Names, Words and Phrases

Frances Yip (Traditional Chinese: 葉麗儀; Simplified Chinese: 叶丽仪)

Andy Lau (Traditional: 劉德華; Simplified: 刘德华)

Bund (Traditional: 外灘; Simplified: 外滩)

Idol-type (Traditional: 偶像派; Simplified: 偶像派)

Shanghai Beach (Traditional: 上海灘; Simplified: 上海滩)

Talent-type (Traditional: 實力派; Simplified: 实力派)


"Frances Yip", Wikipedia - The Free Encyclopedia,
(accessed 2011-12-26).

"葉麗儀", Wikipedia - The Free Encyclopedia,
(accessed 2011-12-26).

"上海灘 (1980年電視劇)", Wikipedia - The Free Encyclopedia,
(accessed 2011-12-26).