Music Monday: Don’t be afraid

Up springs the wind, down pours the rain,
Buckwheats getting brown, leaves turning grey.
Here spring fades away, there summer is on the way.
Restless in mind, twirling in time, over the turbulent years.
Don’t panic, don’t be afraid,
of the bitter cold, or of the sunburt days,
of the distress and misery, or of the sowrrow and pain.
Don’t panic, don’t be afraid.

Made popular by Jikejunyi,  this soulful Yi song is written by singer-songwriter Mo Xizishi 莫西子诗 . It was first sung by a Yi band here. You can also listen to versions by composer/writer Mo Xizishi as well as Zhou Shen and  M.I.C.’s Steelo Zhao, who says he wants to write more songs incorporating his heritage using Yi.  Steelo, man, you gotta focus. I’m still clamoring for those Peking opera rap songs that you never wrote.

I found this translation on YouTube and couldn’t figure out who it’s by, but it’s better than anything I could come up with.  Which version is your favorite?

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Chinese dubs of Abominable available in all 4000+ U.S. theaters

I already wrote a post about the film, but I tested the dubbing app out and it was too cool to not have its own post.

Abominable , a collaboration between Dreamworks and Shanghai-based Pearl Studio, is the first animated film available with Chinese dubs across all 4000+ U.S. theater locations through the app Theater Ears. The film is also the first animated film with wide releases worldwide featuring a modern Chinese setting as well as the first major animated film directed, produced, and written by women.

The dubbing for the film in Chinese is done by Zhang Zifeng, Arthur Chen Feiyu, Wan Qian and Cai Ming. The film includes music by Angela Chang (below) and Wang Sulong. Coldplay’s Fix U is the only song that plays in both languages. If you are fairly well-versed in Chinese pop culture, I highly recommend the Chinese dubs as I think it has more jokes and a stronger emotional message. The only main thing you might be missing out is that the English dubs by Chloe Bennet and Tenzing Norgay Trainor had ridiculous romantic chemistry, while the Chinese dubs felt more like brother-sister.

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Fifty celebrities gather for GQ’s short film, MV, and photoshoots

You thought the Vanity Fair photoshoot was it for GQ’s 10th birthday party? Nope, they also have a MV, a short film, and a Fancy Dinner photoshoot. Select guests include Jing Boran, He Jiong, Karlie Kloss, Wang Yaoqing, Duan Yihong, William Chan, Wenqi, Qu Chuxiao, Li Yifeng, Chris Li Yuchun, Li Bingbing, Li Qin, Zhu Yilong, Angelababy, Wang Yibo, He Sui, Tan Jianci, Jing Tian, Li Xian, Liu Haoran, Chloe Maayan, Wang Jingchun, Tong Dawei, Zheng Kai, Cai Xukun and Deng Lun.

I can’t figure out how to upload the photo of the very long dinner table with a lot of people and not that much food, so here’s the link. Here’s their MV featuring some of the guests and the first set of character posters for the short film below the cut:

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Jade Dynasty releases theme by Zhou Shen

Xiao Zhan stars as the lead of Jade Dynasty

Zhou Shen sings the beautiful theme song for upcoming xianxia film Jade Dynasty 诛仙. The film, based on the novel of the same name, stars  Xiao Zhan (The Untamed) as the ordinary protagonist who gets embroiled in the battle between good and evil and in a love triangle involving Li Qin and Meng Meiqi’s characters.

Love and Destiny releases theme song, sets release date

Still on the fence, but the production values seem top-notch.

Ni Ni and Chang Chen’s Love and Destiny 宸汐缘 has finally set a release date for July 15th (this means there’s a 50% chance of it actually being released). The drama released a MV today for its theme song by Zhang Bichen and Zheng Yunlong. From the producers and director of Eternal Love, the drama tells of the love story between the God of War and a maiden destined to bring chaos to the world. [Extended Synopsis]

Lyrics Translation: Hua Mulan selection

Brother Liu, you speak without reason
How can one say women enjoy leisure without labor?
Men fight on the borders,
while women spin and weave at home.

Lyrics translation for one of my favorite pieces of Chinese opera, a selection from Yu Opera Hua Mulan. The piece is a rare take on Mulan that points out the strength of women lie not just in their ability to succeed in traditionally male-dominated fields, but also in the often over-looked importances of traditionally female occupations. Plus, it’s easily one of the most catchy opera pieces.

Performance of the selection by Peng Liyuan:

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Ten things about Zhang Yunlei, the artist making Chinese opera cool again

Zhang Yunlei
Thousands of fangirls singing along to Chinese opera is something I never thought I would see in my lifetime, but here we are with Zhang Yunlei.

From a homeless fourth-grade dropout to surviving a four-story fall to becoming one of the hottest new stars making century-old tunes hip again, singer-xiangsheng comedian Zhang Yunlei is a Republican-era prima donna teleported into the modern era. Here are ten things to know and love about rising star Zhang Yunlei.

  1. Thanks to him, millennial fans are singing along to traditional music like Taiping Lyrics version of Madame Lady Snake , Peking Opera Suolin Pouch, modified Suzhou PingtanDongbei errenzhuan , and the extremely catchy Ping Opera Qiankun Belt.
  2. Zhang Yunlei is most widely known for his modern rendition of Beijing folk song Visiting the Qingshui River. He released his first single, Yuzhen, last year, and has already recorded more songs.
  3. Nails from his left leg.

    In August 2016, over twenty terminally ill notices were released for Zhang Yunlei after he fell from the equivalent of a four-story drop-off at a railroad terminal. He miraculously returned to the stage, but with 108 nails inside his body and one less lung.  For his earlier performances, they would wheel him up to stageside, and then he would walk up with the help of his partner, Yang Jiulang.  There have been times where after he goes backstage, they would find out the nails had poked through his ankles and bled all over.

  4. Zhang Yunlei began studying Chinese opera and music at the age of five, and quit school in 4th grade to train under xiangsheng and opera performer Guo Degang.  Zhang Yunlei’s performances of xiangsheng’s special ballad form, Taiping lyrics 太平歌词, are so good that their company still uses recordings of him for lessons. Zhang Yunlei singing Taiping lyrics here.
  5. At the age of 13, he lost his boy soprano voice and thought he would never return to the stage. While getting by on odd jobs in Beijing, he once slept for a month at McDonald’s since it was open all night. Last year, he became a brand ambassador for McDonald’s.

Zhang Yunlei and fans singing Visiting the Qingshui River.

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Lyric translation: Visiting the Qingshui River

Remember how the post on Chinese names mentioned most people use their ming as their first name? Guo Degang’s students are some of the last exceptions in entertainment.  Everyone who studies under Guo Degang receives a zi when they’re deemed worthy. Zhang Yunlei’s Yunlei and his partner Yang Jiulang’s Jiulang are both zi.

A criticism of opium addiction and the oppressive social order during the late Qing dynasty, Beijing folk ballad  Visiting the Qingshui River 探清水河 tells the tragedy of a pair of star-crossed lovers.

If the song sounds familiar, it might be because it uses the same tune as Qinhuai River of film The Flowers of War.

Zhang Yunlei singing his popular abridged guitar version with fans:

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