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I can remember my first three years in China listening to Cantonese music in bars, friends’ cars, on TV, and hearing lots of songs I knew were popular, but never taking the time to figure out what they were called. I liked a lot of them and it turns out most of those songs are by a Hong Kong band from the eighties named Beyond. Their main song writer and lead singer, Wong Ka Kui, was responsible for founding one of the first and most successful rock bands in China and Hong Kong. He died in an accident in Japan in 1993.

Below is my translation and English approximation for the Cantonese pronunciation of their song 光辉岁月 (guāng hūi sūi yūe) “Glorious Years”, which is a tribute to Nelson Mandela.  It’s my favorite Chinese (Cantonese) song.

 Check out the song/video here.

光輝歲月
Glorious Years

Verse 1:
鐘聲響起歸家的訊號
Jong sing heung hay gwai ga dik soon hoe
In the sound of the bell which signals home coming

在他生命裡彷彿帶點唏噓
Joy ta song mang loi fong fot dai dim hay hoi
In his life seems to also bring a hint of a sigh.

黑色肌膚給他的意義
Hak sik gay foo kup ta dik ee ee
The meaning given to him through his black skin

是一生奉獻膚色鬥爭中
See yut song foon heen foo sik dao dzang dzong
Is a life’s devotion to the struggle for racial equality.

Bridge:
年月把擁有變做失去
Nin yue ba yong yao been joe sut hoi
The years have changed possession to loss.

疲倦的雙眼帶著期望
Pay goon dik seung ngan dai jek hei mong
The weary eyes have hope in them.

Chorus:
今天只有殘留的軀殼
Gum tin gee yao tsan lau dik koi hawk
Today only a worn-out body remains

迎接光輝歲月
Ying jip guang fai soi yue
To welcome the glorious years.

風雨中抱緊自由
Fung yu jong poe gun gee yao
Holding to freedom amidst the wind and rain,

一生經過徬惶的掙扎
Yat sung geng gwa pong wong dik dzung dzak
Through a lifetime of struggle despite fear,

自信可改變未來
Gee soon haw goi been may loi
He is confident he can change the future.

問誰又能做到
Mun soi yao nung joe doe
Who else could do this?

Verse 2:
可否不分膚色的界限
Haw faw bat fan fu sik di gai han
Could there be no distinction of colors?

願這土地裡 不分你我高低
Yun je toe dei loi bat fan nay gnaw go dai
Hope there could be no differences between you and I in this land.

繽紛色彩閃出的美麗
Bat fan sik choi sim chut dik may lai
The beauty that is emitted by a dazzling array of colors

是因它沒有 分開每種色彩
See in tah mutyaofan hoi mui jong sik choi
Is there because there is no distinction of color.

Repeat Chorus and Bridge

Other great songs by Beyond are 真的爱你 (zhēn de aì nǐ) “Really Love You” and 海阔天空 (hǎi kùo tiān kōng) “Boundless Oceans Vast Skies”.

When I go back to visit Guangdong, my friend and I still enjoy blasting these tunes as we drive around the palm-tree-and-factory-lined streets.

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2 comments… add one
  • Jacky July 20, 2012, 7:04 pm

    I also like beyond’s song. Especially, 海阔天空,光辉岁月 and 真的爱你。
    If we have a chance ,we can go to KTV to sing. ahaha

    • admin July 22, 2012, 9:38 am

      Good choices, I think they are some of the most popular songs. KTV sounds good.

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