»  Songs from Seeing Calvin Coolidge in a Dream (1)

 

Songs from Seeing Calvin Coolidge in a Dream (1)

 

•  Background

My 1996 novel Seeing Calvin Coolidge in a Dream made two passing references to Chinese pop songs of the early 1970s, in both cases to songs sung by Frances Yip.

Ms. Yip — her Chinese name is 葉麗儀, Mandarin "Ye Liyi", Cantonese "Yip Leiyi" — is listed in Wikipedia as a Cantopop singer, which is to say, a singer of pop songs in Cantonese (the language of Hong Kong).

Cantopop only really came to prominence from the mid-1970s on, though. In the early stages of her career — the stages relevant to Seeing Calvin Coolidge in a Dream — Frances Yip sang in Mandarin, and so at that point was a Mandopop singer.

The novel mentions two of her songs. This page concerns the first.

In Chapter 6, page 57, the narrator says that:

There was one song I particularly recall: "Can't forget our first love" — in Chinese, "Wo Nan Wang Wo Liang-de Chu-Lian." Many years later I discovered that the tune was "Bésame Mucho," but Miss Yip took it to places Los Paraguayos never knew.

I cannot find any Chinese recording of this song. The best I can offer is a recording of Los Paraguayos singing "Bésame Mucho," followed by the Chinese lyrics as sung by Frances Yip, with a translation by me. If you can read Chinese, it's then a breeze to sing along to the tune. If you can't, I've included a pinyin transcription of the lyrics.

I got the Chinese lyrics from here. They show the first three words of the song as "我盼望." I remember them as "我難忘," which makes more sense contextually, and in light of the song title. However, "盼望" (pàn wàng = "look forward to") and "難忘" (nán wàng = "can't forget") sound very similar in Mandarin, so possibly I'm wrong.

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•  Play the tune

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•  Chinese lyrics


    難忘的初戀

我難忘我兩的初戀,
多少個愛的夢,
那情景就像昨天.
你雖已那樣的遙遠,
多少事,多少事,
還跟我這般牽連.

多少的真情話,
多少的意纏綿,
這樣把我別牽.
夢中人你是否還記得你和我,
那一段難忘的初戀.

我盼望美好的明天.
有多少新願望引着我勇往向前 …
我現在開始再漂泊;
從前事, 從前事,
不停在腦海迴旋.

[Repeat previous five lines.]

[Repeat last two lines.]

•  Translation

I can't forget our first love,
So many dreams of love,
Those scenes just seem like yesterday.
Although you're already so far away,
So many things, so many things,
Keep me in this kind of enthrallment.

So many words from the heart,
So many lingering thoughts,
Keep me from getting involved.
Whether or not the one in my dreams is you, I still remember you with me,
That one unforgettable first love.

I look forward to a bright tomorrow.
There are so many new desires leading me forward fearlessly …
Now I'm beginning to drift again,
Former things, former things,
Go round ceaselessly in my brain.

[Repeat previous five lines.]

[Repeat last two lines.]

•  Pinyin transcription

Wo nan wang wo liang-de chu-lian,
Duo shao ge ai di meng,
Na qing jing jiu xiang zuo tian.
Ni sui yi na yang di yao yuan,
Duo shao shi, duo shao shi,
Hai gen we zhei ban qian lian.

Duo shao di zhen qing hua,
Duo shao di yi chan mian,
Zhei yang ba wo bie qian.
Meng zhong ren ni shi fou hai ji de ni he wo,
Na yi duan nan wang di chu lian.

Wo pan wang mei hao di ming tian.
You duo shao xin yuan wang yin zhe wo yong wang xiang qian …
Wo xian zai kai shi zai piao bo;
Cong qian shi, cong qian shi,
Bu ting zai nao hai hui xuan.

[Repeat previous five lines.]

[Repeat last two lines.]