23 May 2010

Os Mutantes - Baby

This is inspired by my favourite radio DJ, Vicky on WFMU's Do or DIY with People Like Us, who played an English version of Baby by Fantastic Plastic Machine on her first show of 2010. Like me, Vicky has a penchant for singers who use English as their second language. Here are the originals by Os Mutantes in Portuguese and English. Baby was written by Caetano Veloso (I believe he wrote both sets of lyrics) and both versions here are sung by Rita Lee.

The lyrics don't make much sense in either language because they were meant to be a parody of a certain kind of Brazilian middle class culture that was around at the time. The line It's time now to learn Portuguese... is a kind of mirror translation of Você precisa aprender inglês... (You need to learn English). There is an interesting New York Times article on Caetano Veloso's use of English on Caetano's website. It says that the Baby, baby, I love you that ends the song is a quote from Paul Anka's Diana, which is not exactly true because that line isn't in Diana. But I guess he quoted the melody.

21 May 2010

Crazy Lion again

The hedgehog adventurer emailed mouse from Crazy Lion with a few questions (which is what we do when we come across HK bands who write songs in English). Here's what he had to say...

Can you share your lyrics?
Sure. We got YouTube links on our Crazy Lion Facebook page. Lyrics are included in the descriptions on YouTube.

Crazy Lion posted both Cantonese and English songs, do you compose in both languages?
Yes, we compose in both languages. Mainly Cantonese and English, with some Mandarin also.

What are the reasons for writing lyrics in English or Cantonese?
Being a Hong Kong guy, Cantonese is my mother language and English is my second language.

Can you share the process of writing English songs?
By habit, I note the ideas like words, melodies and rhythm almost everyday. Those accumulated ideas from daily life and feelings can be used as rough works/elements of songs. Some songs come from free jamming. Sometimes we compose with the help of computers.

Why reggae?
I love reggae music and I am interested in the Rastafarianism behind it.

Why reggae? What a question! Crazy Lion play at Hidden Agenda in Kwun Tong on 17th and 24th June.

Thank you mouse, and now for a little Cantonese reggae.

04 May 2010


Here is something not seen since the days of City Beat - four gwailos singing in Cantonese. This is a cover of a Joey Yung song and, in fact, they start in English and then switch to Cantonese, which I believe City Beat never did.

It seems Metro used be The Dapper Dans of Main Street, a barbershop quartet performing at Hong Kong Disneyland. This doesn't necessarily mean there are now no Dapper Dans at Disneyland. It is more of a franchise performing at several parks, and even in different parts of the same park at the same time. There must be a name for that kind of group - wish I knew what it was.