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Chinese Folk Music
Geoff Grainger
Last updated: 10.12.23
West meets East: A story without end
From the very first moments after stepping ashore in Singapore from HMS Victorious way back on 29th March, 1961 and hearing the strains of Chinese music in the streets I became fascinated with Asian music generally and with "Chinese" music especially. I must have spent hundreds of hours over the following years watching, hearing and being fascinated by Peking Opera as performed by small troupes of street players in Singapore, Hong Kong and Macao as well as in the kampongs around Singapore and Malaya. I never understood a word (although manly efforts were made using Fifty lessons in Chinese). After my service life in the Royal Navy finished in 1968, one could have expected that the story would have ended there with a cluster of highly scratched LPs, a few other mementoes and a lot of fond memories. But, life had other plans, ......
So, some years, indeed many years later in 1999, whilst partaking of a Chinese meal in the Chinese restaurant "Residenz Wang", Vegesack, Germany to be precise, its proprietor, Chong Xiao Wang asked me whether I could sing at an event he was organising for the German -Chinese Association, Bremen. Naturally, I was delighted to take up the challenge. After much searching for something suitable, I finally came across Cindy Mao & Ma Baolin's Sing Chinese which seemed to fit the bill superbly. Over the next three months I got to grips with some 25 songs listed in these pages. My accent of course, is far from perfect to put it optimistically, but I thoroughly learned and enjoyed these Chinese children's songs. I was also helped by Melissa Siew with kè rén lái which she learned in her childhood in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Any roud up, the event fell through and I had not opportunity of showing off my new-won songs. Actually at this point, one should really have quite expected that the story would have ended here with a little disappointment at not having "sung" these songs in public. But, life had quite other plans, ......
So it came to pass that Melissa on marrying my son Andrew in September 2000 became my daughter-in-law giving me the happy prospect of one day of croaking out a few songs to a captive audience in the shape of my future grandchildren. What a story! Get on with it children!

Geoff Grainger, Bremen-Vegesack, January 2001

     Title Audio Files Remarks
chin15.gif Clay doll (ní wá wa)   nlyrics.gif
chin15.gif Cloth doll (bù wá wa)   nlyrics.gif
chin15.gif Going to school (shàng xué xiào)   nlyrics.gif
chin15.gif I have a pair of little hands (wǒu yì shuāng xiǎo xiǎo shǒu)   nlyrics.gif
chin15.gif kè rén lái   nlyrics.gif
chin15.gif Learn the numbers   nlyrics.gif
chin15.gif Little baby goes to sleep (xiǎo bǎo bèi kuài ān shuì)   nlyrics.gif
chin15.gif Little cowherd (xiǎo fàng niú)   nlyrics.gif
chin15.gif Little donkey (xiǎo máo lǘ)   nlyrics.gif
chin15.gif Little duckie (xiāo xiāo yā zi)   nlyrics.gif
chin15.gif Little ducks (xiǎo yā zi)   nlyrics.gif
chin15.gif Little rabbit (xiǎo tù)   nlyrics.gif
chin15.gif Little swallow (xiǎo yàn zi)   nlyrics.gif
chin15.gif Moon is bright   nlyrics.gif
chin15.gif Please sing a song   nlyrics.gif
chin15.gif  Purple bamboo flute (zǐ zhú xiāo)   nlyrics.gif
chin15.gif Song of the shepherd   nlyrics.gif
chin15.gif Throw a handkerchief (diū shǒu jīn)   nlyrics.gif
chin15.gif Wa ha ha (wa ha ha)   nlyrics.gif
     Title Performer Composer
youtube15.jpg Clay doll (ní wá wa) (1:31) Yip's Children's Choi
youtube15.jpg Going to school (shàng xué xiào) (0:38) Siauw Foeng
youtube15.jpg Kè rén lai (2:02) Always Fun Time
youtube15.jpg La Petite Hirondelle, Little Swallow (1:14) Roxanne-Lou
youtube15.jpg Little donkey - Xiao mao (1:31) Learning Bus
youtube15.jpg Little rabbit (Xiao tu zi guai guai) (1:29) Chinese Kids Songs
youtube15.jpg Little Swallow (Xiao Yan Zi) (1:49) China TV
youtube15.jpg Little Swallow (Xiao Yan Zi) (2:42) The Shanghai Restoration Project
youtube15.jpg The little donkey - Xiao Mao lv (0:27) Kingburier 87