24 June 2010

Cantonese opera in English

Back to the grindstone after a great two-day conference on Asian popular music here in Hong Kong. My paper turned out to be about Cantonese opera as modern popular music in its day, which just made me realize how little I know about Cantonese opera. This is a clip I used at the end - the best part of the presentation by far. The one and only, late, great Sik Kok-sin being modern in a 1947 Hong Kong movie, New White Golden Dragon. Around 3:10 you will hear him speak a little English (translation courtesy of the adventurous hedgehog).

Sit: I am going out, prepare my clothes.
Servant: Which jacket do you want to wear?
Sit: Sportex.
Servant: Which shirt?
Sit: Man-hat-tan.
Servant: Which pairs of shoes?
Sit: Flor-sheim.
Servant: Which hat?
Sit: The light colour Hat-s-man.
Servant: Which cigarette case?
Sit: Ron-son.
Servant: Which kinds of cigarettes?
Sit: Big Capstan.
Servant: Which car?
Sit: Lin-coln.
Servant: Everything is ready, sir.

08 June 2010

City Beat

A while back, I mentioned that the likes of Metro - four gwailos singing in Cantonese - haven't been seen in Hong Kong since the days of City Beat. This is City Beat introducing their own video of Tolo Johnny, probably on Fizz Bizz in 1988. Tolo Johnny came out on their first album, which was interesting because side one had five Cantonese songs and side two had the same five songs in English. I believe City Beat never mixed languages in a song, but eventually they released most of their songs in both Cantonese and English versions. The guy you see introducing the video is John Laudon, who is the only one of the four still in Hong Kong, where he still works in the church and the music business. A year or so ago we did an interview with John, where he has a lot of interesting things to say about City Beat and singing in Cantonese.