One day last month or a few months ago, Jenny and I were in her car and she said “Judy, do you know what genre of music I just discovered? Taiwanese folk music. I really like it.” I thought she meant like… OLD folk music, like the stuff we used in chinese dance, but she meant the folk movement in taiwan in the 70s and 80s.
So she played me this song:
don’t ask me whence i came
my home is far, far away.
why wander so far?
for the little birds flying carefree in the big sky
for the small streams flowing clear and blue from the mountaintops
for the grass fields swept across the wide steppes
i wander so far.
for the olive trees in my dreams.
don’t ask me whence i came…
my hometown is far, far away.
why do you wander so far?
for the olive trees that i see in my dreams.
I love this song very much. Here are the lyrics in chinese after the jump. Lisa, I’m thinking of you when I do this detailed writeup.
Note: the pinyin is wrong. I’ve forgotten real pinyin, so this is just me sounding out the words.
bu yao wen wo cong na li lai don't ask me from where come wo de gu xiang zai ruan fang ("gu" means "ancient" too, in other words. so it's like "originating point") my hometown is far away direction (so "ruan fang" is a word that means "far, far away") wei se me liu lang (the word "liu" is also used for water and streams, so that's the kind of wandering liu lang is... flowing and going whatever direction it's taken) why wander (like a dude with a bag on a stick on his back, like a hobo) liu lang ruan fang wander very far away liu lang. wei le tian kong fei xiang di xiao niao (tian=sky/god/etc, kong=empty. tiankong just means sky) because sky-empty flying on the wing 's little birds wei le shan jian qing liu di xiao xi because mountain-sharp clear-flowing 's little streams wei le kwan kwoh di cao yuan because wide steppes 's grass fields liu lang ruan fang liu lang. hai yo, hai yo also, also wei le mong zhong di gan lan xu, gan lan xu because dream inside 's olive tree, olive trees bu yao wen wo cong na li lai do not ask me from where come wo de gu xiang zai ruan fang... my home is very very far... wei she me liu lang? wei she me liu lang, ruan fang? wei le wo mong zong di gan lan xu. because me/i dream inside 's olive trees.
We hung out at J’s house with her mom, who helped us with the lyrics and translated them for us. She said to me that I should go to Taiwan and try out for their version of Idol. She told me in chinese: “you can DEFINITELY PK those other people!” and I could not stop laughing. PK has entered the language. (the letters PK in english. so she said something like “ni jue de ke yi ba ren jia PK diao!”) PK stands for player-kill in english and is used in video games. Ha ha haha haha.
The lyrics come from writings by Sanmao, a Taiwanese writer. The singer of this song is Chyi Yu. As far as I can tell, this version is the original. J’s mom said something like it was set to music by some famous music professor in Taiwan.
It is covered a lot, though. One cover that I found that I really really dislike in every way is here. Ugh. It’s awful.
Now I can add my own! http://www.midomi.com/index.php?action=main.profile&recording_id=65aa6f42a8fdda533105839ff84777c4&from=mini_updates&type=mini_feed_type_songs&position=1