Tuesday, 31 July 2012


Radical Tracks #43
When I heard the Taiwanese Olympic anthem, sung in Mandarin by British band Transition (now moved to Taiwan), I thought of two other of my favourite English songs with Chinese or Japanese lyrics.  Most songs with a Chinese or Japanese theme tend to be in English with Oriental sounding music.  Here's Transition with Olympic Dream, which is not really an English song at all, although the title is sung in English!.
The first English song I remember with Japanese words was Sayonara, not very original really and not many Japanese words at that, but a wistful, evocative song which has been much rerecorded since it was sung in the 1957 film sound track by Miiko Taka.
Anyway, here's the first of my songs - Kites by Simon Dupree and the Big Band Sound from 1967, a lovely song with sweet nothings whispered quite movingly in Chinese in the middle.  Although it is Chinese, the film is all Japanese, perhaps thinking of the Japanese Kite Festival.
Then, in 1976, Queen recorded Teo Toriatte (NOT ‘torriatte’, as on the label).  The Japanese is quite nicely translated in the English verses.
I tried to find a YouTube version of a piece of music from another of my favourite albums, Oil on Canvas, but could only find this tiny snippet.  The band Japan produced some really interesting music with Chinese instruments and occasionally Japanese musicians, but only one I think with Chinese or Japanese actually sung.  Here they are anyway with a bit of Voices Raised in Welcome/Hands Held in Prayer from 1983 and a haunting Chinese refrain.

And, finally, how could I not include the 1980 classic from Monty Python, I like Chinese?  This indeed does have a verse in Chinese.

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