CHENG Kam Cheong
1. I am writing this blog post to exorcise a psychological ghost from my past.
When I was in my teens and experienced my first puppy love, there were two songs that were soothing to my soul:
(a) The Western song How Can I Tell Her by Lobo, and
(b) The Cantonese song (New) Chiming Bells in a Zen Temple ("新禪院鐘聲") by CHENG Kam Cheong.
2. When someday someone writes a history of Cantonese music, I think the (New) Chiming Bells in a Zen Temple will be mentioned.
This song was very popular in Hong Kong in the early 1970s.
The decade and a half after the Second World War, most people in Hong Kong were listening either to Cantonese operas or music imported from the mainland; western music was an oddities.
In the mid-1960s to 1970s, however, three musical waves hit Hong Kong nearly simultaneously:
(a) Western music,
(b) Japanese music, and
(c) Taiwanese music.
But before the three waves hit, Hong Kong musicians were already trying to modernize traditional Cantonese operas into more modern Cantonese music.
(New) Chiming Bells in a Zen Temple by CHENG Kam Cheong was one of those attempts and a successful one at that.
3. CHENG Kam Cheong was borne in Malaysia.
He caught his break in the mid-1960s and his first album came out in 1966.
CHENG Kam Cheong was so popular that he was known as "The Prince of Cantonese Songs".
Since Hong Kong's economy started to take off at about the same time, CHENG Kam Cheong moved his base to Hong Kong in the late 1960s.
Chiming Bells in a Zen Temple ("禪院鐘聲"), originally sang by CHENG Kam Cheong, came in two versions:
(a) Chiming Bells in a Zen Temple ("禪院鐘聲"), and
(b) (New) Chiming Bells in a Zen Temple ("新禪院鐘聲").
Nearly all uploaders to YouTube did not discriminate between these two versions.
So whether the label in YouTube is:
(a) Chiming Bells in a Zen Temple, or
(b) (New) Chiming Bells in a Zen Temple
they are almost always (New) Chiming Bells in a Zen Temple.
Although the sound of the two versions is very similar, the lyrics and music of the two are actually different.
I also noticed from YouTube that many singers sang the lyrics slightly differently from the original and each other - it seems as if the lyrics have not been standardized.
(New) Chiming Bells in a Zen Temple came out in 1971 and became a hit immediately.
4. The "original" Chiming Bells in a Zen Temple by CHENG Kam Cheong recorded in 2002:
The person dressed as a Monk in the video is CHENG Kam Cheong.
5. The (New) Chiming Bells in a Zen Temple by CHENG Kam Cheong recorded in 1997:
CHENG Kam Cheong has to shave his head for the video.
6. A cover by Hong Kong singer Dicky Cheung:
The music arrangement has been modernized for this version; so is the music video.
7. A cover by Hong Kong singers Danny Chan and Jacky Cheung in a function:
This was a rare occasion when they performed together.
8. A cover by Hong Kong singer, TV and stage actress Amy Hu (the first of the two songs):
I have always enjoyed Amy Hu's acting.
9. The Pearl Sisters of Singapore:
and another performance:
They were having fun with this song.
After 40 years, the Pearl Sisters retired from performance in 2010.
10. Three different performances by Lily Chu, the younger of the Pearl Sisters:
The Pearl Sisters have this song down pat.
I think Lily Chu was speaking in Fukienese during her performance.
11. CHEN Rujia of Guangzhou in a concert in Guangzhou in 1989:
12. A very unusual but brilliant alternating of two songs:
Wang Zhaojun is a Beijing Opera style song sang in Mandarin by Rosanne Lui.
(New) Chiming Bells in a Zen Temple is a Cantonese Opera style song sang in Cantonese by Big Al.
13. A cover by CHEN Lijuan:
But her dress was far too sexy for this song.
The way she was dressed was incongruent with the music and lyrics.
But they were having fun with this song too.
14. The music in the Chinese instrument "Guzheng":
I agree with the uploader: "This guzheng has a bitter-sweet voice with rich tone."
15. Guzheng by Wu Yang (female) and flute by Wang Hua (male):
16. A Guzheng performance in London, UK:
17. The Lyrics in Traditional Chinese:
新禪院鐘聲 -- 鄭錦昌
Repeat *, *
18. The Lyrics in Simplified Chinese:
新禅院钟声 -- 郑锦昌
Repeat *, *
19. Names, Words and Phrases:
Cheng Kam Cheong (Traditional Chinese: 鄭錦昌; Simplified Chinese: 郑锦昌).
Amy Hu (Traditional: 胡美儀; Simplified: 胡美仪).
Chen Lijuan (Traditional: 陳俐娟; Simplified: 陈俐娟).
Chen Rujia (Traditional: 陳汝佳; Simplified: 陈汝佳).
Danny Chan (Traditional: 陳百強; Simplified: 陈百强).
Dicky Cheung (Traditional: 張衛健; Simplified: 张卫健).
Flute (Traditional: 簫; Simplified: 箫).
Guangzhou (Traditional: 廣州; Simplified: 广州).
Guzheng (Traditional: 古箏; Simplified: 古筝).
Jacky Cheung (Traditional: 張學友; Simplified: 张学友).
Lily Chu (Traditional: 朱莉莉; Simplified: 朱莉莉).
Prince of Cantonese Songs (Traditional: 粵曲王子; Simplified: 粤曲王子).
Rosanne Lui (Traditional: 呂珊; Simplified: 吕珊).
The Pearl Sisters (Traditional: 明珠姐妹; Simplified: 明珠姐妹).
Wang Hua (Traditional: 王華; Simplified: 王华).
Wang Zhaojun (Traditional: 王昭君; Simplified: 王昭君).
Wu Yang (Traditional: 伍洋; Simplified: 伍洋).
"粵語流行音樂", Wikipedia - The Free Encyclopedia,
"粵語流行曲史", Wikipedia - The Free Encyclopedia,