9.28.2010

The Ladies Of Chinese Pop On Cassette Tape


If I had a tape deck in my Honda Accord, I could take the ladies of Chinese pop everywhere I go.


I'd take Teresa Teng, the favorite of all Chinese around the world. (See Maggie Cheung in Comrades, Almost A Love Story for a full explanation of how much the Chinese love Teresa Teng.)


The ladies of Chinese pop are moody and sensitive. They are thinking about past lovers and the sorrows of living. They have many faces. 


Here are a sample of their sounds. This is Teresa Teng's "Mei Jiu Jia Ka Fei" according to Shazam. My mom used to play a tape like this as she'd drive me to school in the morning. 

I can't catch all the words but I know she is singing "one glass followed by another glass." It sounds like she's trying to convince her lover to stay for just one more drink. I'm going to have to get this translated.


Most of the tapes are warped or just really bad, but I'm going to start posting the better ones. I have to since I just keep coming across more tapes!

I couldn't identify the following song but I know my mother liked it. I've heard it so many times that I know every verse. I call it the Horserider's Song. It has wind effects like you're in the Sahara, and synth trumpets over a beat that sounds like galloping horses. 


This spring, I happened to be in Taipei around the fifteenth anniversary of Teresa Teng's death. Teresa on the news all day and her music was being played on every station, as if she had just died. At the top of Asia's tallest building Taipei 101 was a shrine of her merchandise and a life like cut-out.


Miss Teresa, I still have your tapes!

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Decent music even to a Western ear. Don't throw them away. There's got to be someone in L.A. that could restore the damaged songs.

Raina Lee said...

They're not bad, I just have to sit through a lot of cassette tape! No skipping, just fast forward. I wonder who fixes cassette tapes.

brandon said...

I love this. I listen to this kind of crap all the time! this was right before the period of late 80s/early 90s chinese music I can't stand (it got good again after that).

Raina Lee said...

b, maybe its time to have a cassette listening party! i know you more about 80s chinese pop than I do.

Sean Marc Lee said...

hahaha i love comrades: almost a love story

ps: that is wong kar wai's DP christopher doyle in his cameo role as the english teacher!

Maggie said...

The tapes might not be warped. Try rewinding the entire tape from end to beginning.

As for preserving these tapes digitally, I think I saw in your pile of electronics ('Wall of Sound' post) a cassette deck. Connect the deck with an RCA jack (has red and white plugs on one end, headphone jack on the other end.) into your computer and record. I use Audio Hijack Pro on my Mac, but there are free programs such as Audacity

A. Hsieh said...

Hi Raina! I haven't been reading your blog as much, but I'm glad I got to this post, if not just 'cos I can tell you that that "Dramatic Chinese Horseback Music" is 席慕容's 出塞曲-- totally one of my mom's faves, too. Lyrics are here: http://gb.cri.cn/3601/2004/09/17/109@302857.htm ! And HERE is a lovely YouTube video, of course. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8e_sRLWPKSo

A. Hsieh said...

Oops. I guess it's actually 蔡琴 who is the singer. Guess whose mom corrected him.

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