Archive for ‘music’

Saturday, January 18, 2014

I had gotten the impression that Cui Jian had become a toothless rocker. Not so, if this BBC article is correct.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

The Tianjin Cultural Front, unconstrained by Minor Matters

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1. Military Pop

Update [20130803]: the show in full on youtube ——–>

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Tianjin Satellite Television is going to broadcast a tribute show to celebrate the founding anniversary of the “People’s Liberation Army”. Han Hong (韩红), a singer and songwriter of Han Chinese and Tibetan origin and host of the show, explains in an Enorth (Tianjin) article of August 1 that

through the army songs, we want to communicate to young people how the two words “military people” are sacred. [...] Some people have doubts how a theme like ‘Resonant Army Songs’ can be close to young people. I’m particularly looking forward to kids born after 1980 and 1990 singing army songs together. This will bring about a completely new feeling.

我们就是要通过军歌告诉年轻人,‘军人’两字是怎么样的神圣。 [...] 有人会疑惑‘军歌嘹亮’这样一个主题会不会离现在的年轻人有点远,我特别期待80后、90后的孩子们一起来唱军歌,一定会带来一个全新的感觉。

According to Baike Baidu, Han Hong is a member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC). Her father’s nationality is Han, and he had been among the young people who were sent to the countryside during the Cultural Revolution, to learn from the rural population. In 2009, Han Hong joined the political department of the Air Force Art Troupe (or song and dance ensemble) and has since served as the department’s deputy director. Her fans believe that her voice comes across as naturally as Sarah Brightman‘s, but those who (strongly) dislike her find her style artificial.

Han Hong is joined by four commenters (not quite a jury, as competition isn’t meant to be at the center of the show): Zhou Xiao’ou (周晓欧), Man Wenjun (满文军), Li Danyang (李丹阳), and Cai Guoqing (蔡国庆).

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2. Miltary Movie

In June, Xiao Huaiyuan (肖怀远), Tianjin Municipal Standing Committee of the CCP and the Committee’s propaganda department director, described his impressions from a visit to the production of a television series “Way-finding” (“寻路”), a film about the history of the CCP   which enthusiastically sings the praises of Mao Zedong, Zhou Enlai, Zhu De and other members of the old revolutionary generation who sought the correct path for China’s revolution in bloody struggles, their strong will and foresight [...] (热情赞颂了毛泽东、周恩来、朱德等老一辈革命家为了探寻中国革命正确之路而浴血奋斗的坚强意志和远见卓识 [.....]).

“Way-finding” strictly respected historical truth (严格尊重历史真实) and followed the principle of not falsifying the major events, but being unconstrained by minor matters (大事不虚、小事不拘), Xiao Huaiyuan wrote in an article for People’s Daily (人民日报), republished by Enorth on June 20.

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Related

» Regulating the Talent Shows, Channel News Asia, July 26, 2013
» Perfect Revolutionaries leave nothing to chance, Dec 2, 2010

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Sunday, June 9, 2013

Unharmonious First Lady?

Michelle Obama‘s absence from the American-Chinese summit in California was a diplomatic misstep, Daniel W. Drezner, a professor of international politics at  the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, argued on Foreign Policy  (behind a registration wall, possibly). Her absence was an own-goal, Drezner believes, because this was one of the rather few occasions where she could really have  mattered in the world of politics. Too many Chinese might be disappointed that America’s first lady didn’t meet up with China’s first lady, Peng Liyuan.

Reportedly, Mrs Obama wanted to stay in Washington, to celebrate the birthday of one of her daughters.

Isaac Stone Fish disagreed with Drezner’s criticism. He referred to the songs Peng used to sing in full PLA gear, and especially this song, where she pretended to be Tibetan, lauding the PLA for “liberating” Tibet.

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Related

» Domestic Responsibilities, SMH, June 7, 2013
» The only Disharmony, May 27, 2013

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

BBC Statement accuses China of Jamming

On Mondaqy, the BBC accused China of jamming its Mandarin English-language service on shortwave. However, it also added that it wasn’t poossible to determine exactly where the blocking was coming from. Not at “this stage”, anyway.

On Tuesday, a foreign ministry spokesperson claimed not to understand the situation, and a media commenter, Michael Anti, apparently presented himself as a nerd (quoted by The Guardian):

I doubt there is anyone listening to the BBC English radio in China.

Anti should know better – there are even Chinese online discussions about foreign broadcasters on shortwave. Not to mention that only every second Chinese citizen is a regluar internet user so far.

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Update / Correction (Febr 26, 2013):

the BBC statement is about jamming of its shortwave programs in English.

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The following is a recording of a Falun-Gong-leaning station, the Sound of Hope (希望之声) being jammed.

You can hear the jamming station’s output rise after 35 seconds into the recording, and the “alternative” program, Chinese folk music known as “Firedrake” (火龙干扰) sets in after one minute. (Recorded in June, 2011.)

It appears that regular Chinese domestic programs on shortwave are also at times used to interfere with undesired foreign broadcasters, as they go on air along with them, and off air once the undesired broadcasts are over.

click picture for source.

click picture for source.

That’s a lot of time and effort for nothing, if nobody in China actually listens.

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Related

» Always with you on Shortwave (Chinese blogpost translation), March 17, 2012
» Radio jamming in China, Wikipedia, acc. 20130226

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Thursday, November 8, 2012

Going to the Grassroots: Li Huadian & The Volunteers provide Tianjin Airforce with Spiritual Nourishment

This is from the same Enorth series as this previous translation. The context of these  events is the 18th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party. Links within blockquotes added during translation – JR

Main Link: Greeting the 18th National Congress of the CCP – Tianjin Public Culture Volunteers Corp contributes arts at the barracks

Enorth (Tianjin), November 3, 2012

In the morning of November 3, the Tianjin Public Culture Volunteers’ Corps went to an PLA air force unit stationed in Tianjin, to perform wonderful cultural arts in front of the troops. This is another one among the “volunteers’ performances to greet the 18th National Congress” activities.

11月3日上午,天津市公共文化服务志愿者总队走进驻津空军某部,将精彩的文艺演出送给那里的官兵们。这也是本市“喜迎十八大志愿者在行动”系列演出活动之一。

Among the performances, the volunteers had brought along wonderful male and female solo songs, reality-fantasy magician performances, xiangsheng, Pingju Opera song series, and other wonderful gigs. To express their gratitude, and to display the talents within their barracks, the soldiers also performed some wushu and guitar performances of their own.

演出现场,志愿者们带来了精彩的男女生独唱、亦真亦幻的魔术表演、诙谐幽默的对口相声、韵味十足的评剧联唱等精彩的文艺节目。为了表达谢意,也是展示军营风采,战士们也表演了自己拿手的舞剑和吉他弹唱。

The atmosphere of the scene was unusually warm. Apart from performing a song arranged on his own, young actor Du Lei also impersonated Liu Dehua, Liu Huan, and other voices, thus winning enthusiastic applause from the troops. Young singers Meng Fanjin and Wang Suiru, in beautiful voices, sang “Sincere Beauty” and “Xinjiang Story”, and one sang the popular songs “The Sun will never Set” and “Legendary”. The two young ladies’ silvery voices attracted the young soldiers. They all incessantly gave flowers to them to express their joy.

演出现场气氛异常热烈。年轻演员杜磊除了表演安排好的歌曲以外,又现场即兴表演起模仿秀,他先后模仿了刘德华、刘欢等人的歌声,赢得官兵们一阵阵热烈的掌声。年轻的姑娘孟凡津和王葰如一个用美声唱法演唱了歌曲《真诚的美丽》和《新疆故事》,一个演唱了通俗歌曲《日不落》和《传奇》。两位年轻姑娘银铃般的歌声吸引了年轻的战士们。大家不断向台上的姑娘献花,表达他们的喜悦心情。

[...]

Famous singer Li Huadian, as a member of the Volunteers’ Corp experts committee, also took part in the performances. It was the first time that he wore the green T-shirt as the volunteer-corp symbol. Li told the reporter that this was a very particular feeling. He said: “It’s my honor to be a volunteer, to come to the barracks to perform, and to serve the soldiers who are defending Tianjin. As a working man of the arts, one has to go to the grassroots, to perform among the masses, and to give ones best to everyone. I will continue to come to the grassroots frequently, to give the best spiritual nourishment to everyone.”

著名歌唱家李华典作为公共文化服务志愿总队专家委员会成员,也参加了本次演出。穿上代表志愿者身份的绿色T恤表演还是第一次。李华典告诉记者,这种感觉很特别。他说:“作为公共文化服务志愿者,到军营来表演,为守卫天津的战士们服务,这是我的荣幸。作为艺术工作者,就是要扎根基层,在群众中多表演,把自己最好的一面展现给大家。以后我还要经常到基层来,为大家送去最好的精神食粮。”

[...]

These were successful performances, the performers saw the needs and the yearning of the soldiers for the arts, and the soldiers liked the cordiality in the performances. Next, the Tianjin Public Culture Volunteers’ Corps will make more grassroot performances, promote this city’s cultural volunteering work, unite more cultural volunteers, to provide even more high-quality spiritual nourishment to the common people.

这次的演出是成功的,演员们看到战士们对于艺术的需求和向往;战士们也喜欢演员们情感真挚的表演。接下来,天津市公共文化服务志愿总队将连续推出多场次的下基层慰问演出,推动本市公共文化志愿服务工作,将更多的文化志愿者们联合起来,为更多的普通公众提供优质的精神食粮。

(Wu Hong reporting / 记者吴宏)

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Related

» Welcoming 18th National Congress, Nov 3, 2012
» Go Global, and no Porn, Febr 12, 2012

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Thursday, November 1, 2012

Shortwave Log, Northern Germany, September/October 2012

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Radio Station Profiles: RTM Mali

Radiodiffusion Télévision du Mali, according to information on its QSL cards almost three decades ago, carried transmissions in French, English, Arabic and national vernacular languages during the 1980s on about five frequencies – two in the 60-m tropical band, and three from the 49- to the 31-m-band. The broadcasts I used to listen to in Europe back then were usually in French. These days, 5995 kHz in the 49-m band seems to work best in Germany, if recent video uploads on youtube are something to go by. The frequency 5995 kHz (49 m) shown there on youtube was also active during the 1980s, but at the time, the frequency was probably hardly audible, as European broadcasters, too, were rather active on shortwave. The tropical band was my medium to listen to Africa during the 1980s.

RTM Mali, QSL 1986

African domestic stations on shortwave – most of those audible in central and northern Europe came in most clearly in the 60-meter band – differed from each other in terms of formats at the time. Some were mostly boring official announcements and news, on other stations, there were also messages from and between listeners read out, and some stations also broadcasted pretty lively music. If I remember it right, RTM Mali devoted more time to regional music than most African domestic stations I listened to.

Private radio stations appear to be on air in Mali, too. According to Wikipedia, the law has allowed for privately-run stations since 1994. These days, Mali shortwave transmitters also relay broadcasts by China Radio International (CRI). The China Television Economic and Technical Cooperation Company, a state-owned company founded in 1991 for Chinese broadcasting projects abroad, provided Mali with shortwave broadcasting equipment, apparently in 2001, or somewhat earlier, “to help Mali develop a foundation for broadcasting”, and for CRI

to broadcast to Africa in Mandarin, Cantonese, English, French, Swahili, Hausa, and other languages, to let African listeners hear the voice from China more clearly and conveniently, to broaden Chinese influence in Africa, to promote Sino-African friendship and the development of broadcasting in African nations, their public welfare, national education and other important effects.

中广国际总公司 [in full: 中国广播电视国际经济技术合作总公司] 为马里提供并租用当地短波广播设备转播中国国际广播电台对非洲地区广播节 目的卡伊、莫普堤、卡蒂、塞古、锡卡索等地广播发射台工程项目的完成,既为马里国家广播事业的发展奠定了坚实基础,也实现了我国对非洲地区用普通话、广东 话、英语、法语、斯瓦希里语、豪萨语等多种语言在当地广播的目标,让非洲听众更加清晰、更加便捷地收听到来自中国的声音,为扩大我国在非洲地区的影响、促 进中非友谊以及发展非洲国家的广播电视事业、国家公益事业、促进国民教育事业等发挥了重要作用。

The China Television Economic and Technical Cooperation Company seems to work under the auspices of the State Administration of Radio, Film, and Television (SARFT) and is located in Beijing’s Chaoyang district.

Obviously, during the 1980s, there weren’t too many ways to be familiar with musical genres and their protagonists. Local broadcasters could give you a taste of regional music, but as their target audience was familiar with the musicians anyway, there was no need for the announcers to explain the music they played. Things have changed with the internet, and you can get all kinds of background information now, as a recent blogpost by KT illustrates – it includes a number of samples/videos »

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Recent Logs

International Telecommunication Union letter codes used in the table underneath:
AIA – Anguilla; CUB – Cuba; EGY – Egypt; RUS – Russia; TIB – Tibet; TWN – Taiwan.

Languages (“L.”):
C – Chinese; E – English; G – German; S – Spanish.

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kHz

Station

Ctry

L.

Day

Time GMT

S I O
7240 CNR TIB C Sep 2 22:42 4 5 3
7240  PBS Tibet TIB C Sep 2 22:59 4 5 3
6090 Caribbean
Beacon
AIA E  Sep 20 01:28 4 4 4
5025 R. Rebelde CUB S Sep 20 01:29 4 4 4
11560 R. Cairo 1) EGY G Sep 22 19:00 4 5 4
15700 Vo Russia RUS G Oct 2 09:00 5 5 5
9955 RTI Taipei 2) TWN G Oct 3 17:00 4 4 4

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No impressive list for September and October, as I was much busier in recent weeks, than in August (see “Related” at the bottom of this post), and spent only little time in front of the radio.
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Notes

1) While modulation was much better on that day than what listeners had previously been used to, readability of the broadcast was still less than O=4. Modulation is still not up to the standards. To give you an idea, here is a short recording from the September 22 broadcast in German.

2) Direct live broadcast from Taiwan on shortwave. Occasionally morse interferences, and growing (unid.) interference from five kHz further down during the last third of the broadcast.

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Related

» Previous Logs, Sep 2, 2012
» A State Secret in North Korea, Aug 1, 2012

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Thursday, October 25, 2012

Gangnam Style in Recent History

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Some 40 years ago.


(click picture for video)

The real revolutionary opera is here. It’s become a popular target for all kinds of re-mixes online, even before the gangnam hype.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Zheng Lücheng: Thoroughly into Factories and the Countryside

Much of the following is based on CCP folklore and, and therefore not necessarily accurate. Links within blockquotes added during translation – JR.

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Main Link: 中国人民解放军军歌作曲者郑律成

Zheng Lücheng, famous composer. Born in Korea’s South Jeolla Province, Guangju, Yanglin Village in 1914, into a poverty-stricken family. Original name Zheng Fu’en, later, for his passion for music, changed into Lücheng. His father was a patriot, his three older brothers all gave their lives for the cause of Chinese and Korean revolution. In spring 1933, Zheng Lücheng and a group of Korean patriots came to China, entered the Korean anti-Japan resistance organization[s] in China, and ran the Nanjing “Korean Revolutionary Cadres’ School”. After graduation, he was active in resisting Japan in Nanjing, Shanghai, and other places, and in his spare time, he studied music.

郑律成,著名作曲家。1914年出生在朝鲜全罗南道光州杨林町一个贫苦家庭。原名郑富恩,后因酷爱音乐,改名律成。他的父亲是个爱国者,他的3个哥哥先后为朝鲜和中国的革命事业献出了生命。1933年春,郑律成和一批朝鲜爱国青年来到中国,进入朝鲜在华抗日团体开办的南京“朝鲜革命干部学校”。毕业后,他一边在南京、上海等地从事抗日救亡活动,一边利用业余时间学习音乐。

After the outbreak of the National Anti-Japanese War, Zheng Lücheng whole-heartedly went to Yan’an in October 1937, joined the Shaanbei Public School [for training cadres] and studied at the Lu Xun Academy of Art and Literature. At the beginning of 1938, he became the Anti-Japan-Resistance University of Military Administration’s musical director and vocal-music instructor at the Lu Xun Academy of Art and Literature. In January 1939, he joined the Chinese Communist Party. In May 1942, Zheng Lücheng took part in the Yan’an Arts Work Conference and attentively listened to Chairman Mao Zedong’s teachings. In August 1942, Zheng Lücheng was sent to the headquarters of the Eighth Army at the Taihang Mountains, as education director of the North China “Korean Revolution Military Administration School”. In January 1944, he returned to Yan’an.

全国抗日战争爆发后,郑律成怀着满腔热情,于1937年10月奔赴延安,先后入陕北公学、鲁迅艺术学院音乐系学习。1938年起任中国人民抗日军政大学音乐指导、鲁迅艺术学院声乐教员。1939年1月加入中国共产党。1942年5月,郑律成参加了延安文艺工作座谈会,聆听了毛泽东主席的教导。1942年8月,郑律成被派往太行山八路军总部工作,任华北“朝鲜革命军政学校”教育长。1944年1月回延安。

Zheng Lücheng frequently joined the anti-Japanese front and created a great number of musical works that reflected the soldiers’ battles against the Japanese. In April 1938, he wrote the “Ode to Yan’an” which spread from Yan’an to the whole country right after it came out, and inspired many progressive young people to hurry to Yan’an and to throw themselves into the revolution. In 1993, the “Ode to Yan’an” was included into the twenty Chinese Classics of the 20th Century, to enter the Chinese annals of music forever. In fall 1939, he completed the “Eighth Route Army Choruses” together with Gong Mu, among these, the “March of the Eighth Route Army Song” and “Eighth Route Army Anthem” which became military songs being sung in many places. During the liberation war, the “March of the Eighth Route Army Song” was changed into the “Military Anthem of the People’s Liberation Army”, with some changes to the text.

郑律成经常深入抗日前线,创作了大量反映抗日军民斗争生活的音乐作品。1938年4月间,他创作的歌曲《延安颂》一经问世,就由延安迅速传遍全国,对许多进步青年奔赴延安投身革命起了直接的鼓动作用。1993年,《延安颂》被评为20世纪华人音乐经典,永载中国音乐史册。1939年秋,他同公木合作完成了《八路军大合唱》,其中的《八路军进行曲》和《八路军军歌》成为广为传唱的人民军队战歌。解放战争时期,《八路军进行曲》更名为《中国人民解放军进行曲》,歌词略有改动。

After the victory in the Japanese War, Zheng Lücheng returned to North Korea and served successively as the Korean Workers Party Kangwon Province Committee’s propaganda director, North Korean People’s Army club director, the North Korean People’s Army Orchestra director, the Korean National Music University’s composing department director, etc.. During this time, he wrote songs in praise of Korean people’s struggles and Sino-Korean friendship, “Korean People’s Army March”, “Sino-Korean Friendship” and many other works. In 1950, he returned to China and took Chinese citizenship, settling in Beijing. He worked at the Beijing People’s Theater and Ensemble. He went thoroughly into factories, the countryside, and borderposts, left his footprints in many places, seeking for material for new works, and wrote a great number of musical works for workers, peasants and soldiers.

抗日战争胜利后,郑律成返回朝鲜工作,历任朝鲜劳动党黄海道委宣传部部长、朝鲜人民军俱乐部部长、朝鲜人民军协奏团团长、朝鲜国立音乐大学作曲部部长等职。在此期间,他谱写了歌颂朝鲜人民斗争和中朝友谊的《朝鲜人民军进行曲》《中朝友谊》等许多作品。1950年回到中国,随即加入中国国籍,定居北京,先后在北京人民艺术剧院和中央歌舞团从事音乐工作。他深入工厂、农村、边防,足迹踏遍了中国大地,到处寻找新的创作原料,为工农兵创作,谱写了大量的音乐作品。

Within several decades, Zheng Lücheng wrote more than 360 songs of different forms and genres, which won universal acclaim. Among them, the “Military Anthem of the People’s Liberation Army”, by its simple and succinct language, its sonorous rhythm, solemn and heroic melody, created a deep impression of the People’s troops’ image, the overwhelming way it pressed forward with an indomitable will, advancing fanfare, following the route of the army’s growth and its victory, and became part of the People’s Liberation Army’s combat effectiveness and political work. On July 25, 1988, the Military Central Commission officially made the song the People’s Liberation Army’s military anthem.

数十年间,郑律成谱写了360余首(部)不同形式、体裁的脍炙人口的音乐作品。其中《中国人民解放军进行曲》以淳朴简练的语言、铿锵有力的节奏、庄严豪迈的曲调,深刻地刻画了人民军队的形象,表现了人民军队一往无前的战斗风格和排山倒海的气势,如进军的号角,伴随着人民军队成长壮大和人民战争胜利的历程,成为中国人民解放军战斗力量和政治工作的一个组成部分。1988年7月25日被中共中央军委正式定为中国人民解放军军歌。

Zheng Lücheng passed away in Beijing, on December 7, 1976.

1976年12月7日,郑律成于北京逝世。

= = = = = = = = = =

Main Link: 郑律成 (baike.baidu)

Note: Ding Xuesong (丁雪松), born in Sichuan Province in 1918, was a cadre in Yan’an and married Zheng Lücheng there. She was a Chinese citizen; Zheng took Chinese citizenship around 1950.

On the eve of the birth of New China, Ding Xuesong was appointed to build Xinhua’s Pyongyang branch office as the office’s director. In October, one week after the branch office’s establishment, China and Korea announced the establishment of diplomatic relations. On June 25, 1950, the Korean War suddenly broke out. With the tensions on the Korean peninsula and domestic decisions on their mind, it was decided to immediately establish an embassy in Pyongyang. Its main task was to maintain contacts between the two parties and armies, and to get aware of changes on the battlefield without delay. With Ding Xuesong as the Xinhua branch office director and a member of the embassy, Zheng Lücheng’s situation became more difficult, and each of them having separate things of their own to do, their feelings for each other were [still] too deep to part with each other. So the only way was for Zheng Lücheng and Ding Xuesong to return to China. Ding Xuesong, with help by a letter written by the ambassador to Chief State Councillor Zhou Enlai, asked for both her and Zheng’s return to China, plus requesting a renewal of Zheng’s party membership, and Chinese citizenship for Zheng. Even though Zhou Enlai was very busy, he quickly approved the requests, and Mao Zedong obtained Kim Il-sung’s agreement. Kim Il-sung was very generous, saying “Zheng Lücheng wants to return to China? That’s alright. The Chinese Communist Party developed so many cadres for us, and if you want a Zheng Lücheng now, that’s no problem.”

新中国诞生前夕的9月中旬,丁雪松受命筹建新华社平壤分社并任社长。10月,新中国成立后一星期,中朝宣布建立外交关系。1950年6月25日,朝鲜战争突然爆发。考虑到朝鲜半岛的紧张局势,国内决定立即在平壤筹建大使馆。主要任务是保持两党、两军之间的联系,并及时了解战场的变化。丁雪松如留任使馆官员或新华社平壤分社社长,郑律成的处境将更加困难;或者从此分离,各自东西,可是两人感情非常深厚,不能割舍。那么,就只有是郑律成和丁雪松一道返回中国。丁雪松通过使馆给周恩来总理写信,要求回国,同时提出郑律成和她一起回去,转回郑律成的党籍并加入中国国籍的要求。周总理百忙中很快批复,并亲笔致函征得了金日成首相的同意。金日成同志十分大度,说:“调郑律成回国?可以嘛,中国共产党给我们培养了那么多干部,现在你们要一个郑律成,不成问题”。

= = = = = = = = = =

He [Zheng] and Ding Xuesong were both persecuted during the Cultural Revolution, and he fell into a deep depression. Tragically, when he heard of the fall of the Gang of Four, which signaled the end of the Cultural Revolution, he suffered a stroke and died.
From 1979 to 1984, Ding Xuesong represented the PRC as ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary to the Netherlands and later to Denmark.

Biographical Dictionary of Chinese Women, Lily Xiao Hong Lee (ed), New York, 2003, page 145.

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Related

» Wen and Jang: Joint Efforts, Aug 17, 2012
» The People’s Heroic Models, CCTV, Sep 26, 2009

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Update/Related

» Zheng Lvcheng, CRI/Soundcloud, Aug 4, 2012
[Update, Dec 23, 2012: now removed, but if you want the soundfile, contact me by email or comment.]

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