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Monday, January 11, 2021

Hong Kong! - Exotic Chinese Pop Music Recorded In Lowloon


The Sorrows Of Meng Chiang Nu

Hong Kong!
Exotic Chinese Pop Music Recorded In Lowloon
Produced by Dave Dexter, Jr.
Capitol Records T10267

From the back cover: The fabulous port of Hong Kong teems with unbelievable contrasts: poverty and wealth, ugliness and beauty, modern commercialism and a culture that is thousands of years old.

On Hong Kong Island and on the adjacent peninsula of Kowloon, which also forms part of the same British colony, you can hear both modern popular music from all over the world and Chinese classical music from the mainland dating back as far as the 14th Century. Like Hong Kong itself, the music in this album is a fascinating fusion of east and west, old and new.

The instruments heard in this album include the most important and colorful used in Chinese music. The p'i-p'a, or lute, (here illustrated) has four strings, a long crooked neck and a graceful oval-shaped body. It is played with only the fingers, and an accomplished artist can draw from the instrument a variety of tonal colors and virtuosic effects comparable to the virtuoso style of the greatest Western pianists. The Zheng, a small reed organ, is made from nineteen bamboo sticks fixed in a bowl of wood or copper. It plays melodies as well as chords, and requires tremendous amounts of wind from the player. The ti-tzu, or bamboo flute, is held to the side like the Western flute, and has keys, which are sometimes rubbed or hit for special effects. The hu China, the Chinese fiddle, has two strings, no fingerboard, and only small cylinder for a body. Its dark sound is often used in a sliding, singing style quite distinct from Western violin playing. Among the exciting percussion heard in this album are the p'ai-pan, wooden clappers; the lo, a large metal gong; the po, an exotic, rich-sounding cymbal; tank-ku, a small hollow-bottom drum; and assorted large drums and tiny bells.

Most of the selections are compositions or arrangements of Yao Ming, a prominent musician and composer, resident of Hong Kong since 1950. Mr. Yao has devoted himself not only to the study of classical Chinese music, but to composing popular songs as well, and his fame has extended all over South East Asia.

Lantern Dance
Sword Dance
The Sorrows Of Meng Chiang Nu
Swatting Butterflies
Springtime South Of The River
Parting Sorrow
The Return Of Spring
Flower Drum Dance

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