Mommy, What Is Cantopop?

:: Beautiful Sunday ::

:: El Condor Pasa ::

:: Funky Song I Don't Know The Title Of, But It's Track 11 ::

Sometimes it's fun to pick up albums where you can't understand a damn thing printed on the cover. Sometimes it's not fun to try to write about them, because even if you like the music, you can't really supply much info, or in some cases, song titles. I picked this up, suspecting and hoping that it might be a Connie Chan album. Dave from the Movie Fan Princess website quickly dismissed that suspicion, and through some industrious webtective work discovered that I had an album by Sandra Lang, a Hong Kong pop singer who was one half of the singing duo The Chopsticks. Thanks, Dave. You saved the world an article that went something like this: "This is Chinese music, by some chick."

Sandra Lang was evidently a seminal figure in something called Cantopop, which if you didn't guess, is cutesy shorthand for Cantonese Pop. She still performs, and it looks like she just played Reno last December.

This album from 1974 might be a soundtrack, or it might be a compilation. I really don't know, because I'm not that much of a polyglot. What I can tell you is that the first side of this is very Chinese to these occidental ears, and I didn't get into it much. Too slow, too sad. The flip side is much more entertaining. It kicks off with the sassy title track Sunday, and is followed by a fantastic HK-meets-Tijuana rendition of the oft-crooned El Condor Pasa.

The other song that really caught my ear is one of those songs I can't tell you the name of, but it's the 4th song on side two, and it's danceably delicious. The cymbal work kills me. Maybe some kindly Chinese speaker will let us in on what it's called, and whether it's a rocking send-up of an old song or an original. Even if your iTunes aren't happy with its tag, your dancin' bones won't care.

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Thursday, March 15, 2007 3:12:00 PM

The "sassy title track" is a rendition of 'Beautiful Sunday' by Daniel Boone - a big hit here in the UK and elsewhere in 1972 (I think it even made the top 20 in the US). I don't speak Mandarin but I hope the lyrics are up to the quality of the original: "Sunday morning, up with the lark, think I'll go for a walk in the park. Hey hey hey it's a beautiful day", and so on.    

Thursday, March 15, 2007 4:20:00 PM

Much appreciated, thanks Chris.    

Saturday, March 17, 2007 2:02:00 PM

Nice find indeed, thanks a lot!

Michael Vee - Milano

PS: Maybe you' like to check my blog "60s (mostly) Uncomped" w/ a selection of rare 60s tracks collected from various blogs (including yours, all bloggers named).    

Monday, March 19, 2007 8:49:00 AM

The "Funky Song" is a Chinese New Year's song. She sings about celebrations and good wishes. The title maybe "Ku Hei Lei", which is the same as how you would wish "Happy New Year" in Cantonese.

The first 2 characters in the "do you know me?" graphic are the same two words from the song.

Thanks to CW for this info    

Monday, March 19, 2007 9:51:00 AM

It sure does seem like a celebratin' type of song. Thanks for the info!    

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