The Melancholy of Hokkien Songs

9 03 2009

I have always thought that Hokkien songs have a deep melancholy to them or “滄桑”. They often sing about the difficulties faced by the common man. The lyrics are reflections of hardships, regret, or asking for understanding or forgiveness. They are like Tom Waits or Bruce Springsteen, singing the plight of the common man.

Here is a song that I like very much. It is “誰人會了解” (Who will understand?) by the godfather of Hokkien Songs – 余天 (Yu Tian).  It is like a howl in the dark for understanding and comfort.

You can click here to listen: 誰人會了解 (Who will understand?)

The lyrics goes like this (I will attempt a translation in English):

誰人會懂了解 (Who can and will understand?)

玩耍人的悲哀 (A Worldly Man’s sadness)

我有滿腔的眼淚 (I have a chest full of tears)

不敢為你哭出來 (But I dare not cry it out for you)

啊 啊 啊  我的心肝內 (Oh, Oh, Oh,  My inner heart)

啊 啊 啊 啊  痛苦誰人知 (Oh, Oh, Oh, Who will ever know my pain?)

夜夜夢見故鄉 (I dream of my hometown every night)

草堆的屋裡 (My house among the grass)

我的啊母在叫我 (My mother is calling me)

叫我早日倒返來 (Asking me to come home again)

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