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School Songs in a Multicultural China

By Ronald Hunt,2014-02-17 20:02
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School Songs in a Multicultural China

    School Songs in a Multicultural China

    CuiJlan(1eft)andGaoXlaosong(right)announcetheywilldirectaWeb-basedshodmovie.L

    aolangandhisfans

    Schoo-Songsina

    Multicultura_China

    DURINGthe1990s.culturalinfluencesfromforeignlandslikeEuropeandAmerica,aswellasthosefromChina'sHongKongandTaiwan,sparked

    offanewroundofdevelopmentamong schoo1.goersintheChinesemainland. Popandrockstarsbecamefashion

    ablei11themainlandforthefirsttime. andtheirtouchinglyricsandmelodies inspiredChinesestudentstocompose theirownschoolsongs.

    WhenthisnewconceptfirstaD

    pearedinmainlandcampuses.students embracedithard.Musicallytalented studentsbeganwritingsongstocapture thespiritoftheirparticularschool'Scu1. ture.andtheirclassmates'dreams.Par- entsfromHainantoHarbinweresoon proudlywitnessingtheirkidssinging meaningfulandinventivesongsabout theirdevelopmentduringtheschoo1. goingyears?

    TheRiseofRockand

    PopinChina

    Schoolsongmaniacoincidedwith theriseofrockandpopintheChinese mainland.Someoftheseinspirational characterswereforeignartists,butthose fromtheChinesemainland,HongKong andTaiwanalsocontributedmuchtothe mainland'Smusicscene,particularlythe "GodfatherofChineseRock."CuiJian. In1986,GUOFengofthe"NewGen

    eration"singersreleasedFilftheWrfd wthLove.indicatingthattheChinese mainlandpopscenehadcomeofage. Ahostofdifferentmusiealstyleshad bythenemerged,withrockmusic,and CuiJian,enjoyingsomesuccessamong Chinesefans.

    Inthelatel980s.Cuireleased

    hisRockandRollOiltheNewLong March,whichearnedhimmuchadula

    tionamonghisgrowingfanbase.That album'Santhemtrack,IHaveNothing, tookmainlandyoungstersbystormwith itsemotionalandrebelliouslyrics.Stu

    dentsviewedtherocklegendasasym

    bOloftheirspirit.

    Thenintheearlyl990s.collegestu. dentsstartedlisteningtoEuropeanand Americanpopartists,includingtheCar- penters.MichaelJacksonandtheBea. 54?CHINATODAYApril2006

    ties.Someoftheirworks.1iketheSound ofSilence.CountryRoad,FiveHndred MilesandYesterdayOnceMore,were sourcesofinspirationforschoolsong writers.Theseeasytosingsongswith

    theirpleasantmelodiesencouraged manymainlandschoolsongwritersto takeuptheirpensandcreate.

    SchoolSongsin

    Dilemma

    Theyearl994sawthereleaseofan albumcalledSchoolSongs.Created entirelybyBeijingcollegestudents, itslivelytrackshadliltingmelodies withlyricsthatcamefromthestudents' hearts.Laterthatyear,asimilaralbum titledCampusWithout,Isappeared inmainlandmusicshops.andsold likehotcakes.Someofitssongswere sweetandgraceful.otherssimpleand pure,butthisalbumalsohadsongsthat couldhavecomestraightfromarock

    er'slips.

    GaoXiaosongwasinTsinghuaUni. versitywhenhe.togetherwithanother FamousschoolsingerYePelperformsatPekingUniverslty.

    PhotosbyChina0f0PressandCnspho~

    songwritercalledYuDong,wrotesuch

schoolsonghitsasMyClassmate.Ro

    manticDays,andFromMyDeepHeart forschoolsingerslikeMiaoYang, Bater,LiaoMin,WangXiaoying,and Laolang.

    RenownedTaiwanmusicianLiZong

    Itwaspurityitselfthat

    wasbehindthesuccess

    oforiginalschoolsong

    writers,anditwasnottoo

    easytorecoverinamon

    1'n,'

    ey-clrzvenc,z1na.

    shengonceremarked."Ifonehasmas. teredthenecessarymethods,strategies andskills.jtiseasytowriteabeaudful song.What'smoredifficultjscreatinga pureone,"Itwaspurityitselfthatwas behindthesuccessoforiginalschool songwriters,anditwasnottooeasyto recoverinamoneydrivenChina.

    Schoolsongshaveoftenbeencriti

    cizedbythepublicandthemediaforbe

    ing"toosimilar."butthatisnotentirely thecomposers'fault.Studentshaveto spendmuchtimewiththeirtextbooks ratherthantheirmusicbooks.Intoday's intenselycompetitivesociety,students aredevelopingamorepracticalnature. Somemediahaveevenreferredtothe

    currentcropofstudentsas''generation pragmatic."Whentheirschoolsongs becometoopragmatic,somesay,the doorstotealartareslammedshut. Inspiteofthiscriticism.someschool singershavegoneontoasuccess- fulcareerinmusic.Theystillreferto themselvesasschoolsingers,buttheir styleshavechangeddramaticallyand theiroldsensesofsincerityandpurity haveevaporated.Thereis.therefore.a needintheChinesemainlandtodayfor anewbat.chofschoolsongcomposers andsingersthatcanbetterrepresentthe spiritofthetimesthroughmusic.?

    April2006CHINATODAY?55

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