30 October 2009

Fanne's portrait

We brought this portrait with us when moving into our new home two weeks ago.

This pencil sketch portrait was finished in 1995, when I was a second-year undergraduate student. It took me three months. I still have no idea how I did it and don't think I can do it again for the rest of my life.

Since I never took any sketch lesson, I read a lot of 'how-to' and 'for-dummies' books and practised all the necessary skills for quite a long time before I really started.

Moreover, Fanne rejected me and refused to give me a photo when I started my courtship, so I could only watch her from a distance and draught as much as possible. It was really a tough task for me.

However, it's now part of our fond memories of undergraduate days and the portrait will surely be passed down for generations.

29 October 2009

The Lonely Accordion

I received a request, probably an order, from May to learn a new song, 'The Lonely Accordion' (Gudu de shoufeng qin 孤獨的手風琴), the screen song of the latest film Prince of Tears (Lei wangzi 淚王子), so that I can sing it in a KTV (ie, a karaoke box, which consists of multiple rooms containing karaoke equipment to be rented for time periods).

It's a story which took place in a 'military-dependent village' (juanchun 眷村) of the air force in Taiwan during the White Terror era, the years when martial law and one-party dictatorship were imposed by the Nationalist government and numerous political dissidents and innocent suspects were imprisoned, tortured and eliminated.

The film is going to be screened tomorrow (30 October) in Taiwan, but the original sound track has already been released. May sent me a link to YouTube, the MV of the screen song, by the veteran Hong Kong singer Goerge Lam (林子祥).

The song is origianlly a famous Russian song 'The Lonely Accordion' (Одинокая бродит гармонь), composed by Boris Mokrousov in 1947, with lyrics by Mikhail Isakovsky. It's about a young accordionist walking alone at night in search of someone, against a backdrop of apple blossoms and a chill blowing in from the fields.

In the film the army pilot, who was imprisoned for suspected espionage, plays the accordion, and thus this melancholic Russian tune is especially chosen and adapted into a Mandarin song. It is the original Russian song that May asks me to sing.

Well, I found the Russian lyrics last night and will study it over the weekend. Next time when I visit a KTV, I shall sing in Russian while other singing the adapted Mandarin version.

Снова замерло всё до рассвета,
Дверь не скрипнет, не вспыхнет огонь.
Только слышно, на улице где-то
Одинокая бродит гармонь.

То пойдёт на поля, за ворота,
То обратно вернётся опять,
Словно ищет в потёмках кого-то
И не может никак отыскать.

Веет с поля ночная прохлада,
С яблонь цвет облетает густой...
Ты признайся - кого тебе надо,
Ты скажи, гармонист молодой.

Может, радость твоя недалёка,
Да не знает, её ли ты ждёшь...
Что ж ты бродишь всю ночь одиноко,
Что ж ты девушкам спать не даёшь!