伴你走天涯 – Tears & Thunder Mean The Same Thing When Sung Out Loud

My Kung Fu Shifu is great at translating songs. Last winter, after 6 am training, my hair smelling of sweat because it was too cold to wash it, I’d sit in his office munching an apple while he translated Everywhere You Go.

He’d ask me things like,

“What does put your hair down to touch the ground mean?”

I’d squirm and say,

‘Well there was this boy and this girl and they got… intimate.”

Every now and again he’d go outside to bash a student in the stomach with an iron bar or break a stick over someone’s arm then come back and continue with the translation.

“I want to be outside your window, I want to be outside your door?”

“She’s in love. She wants to spend every moment of her life with him.”

After he finished the translation, I recorded him speaking the Chinese, and spent any loose time I had learning the words; on the bus, on the tube. I relished queues because it took away the guilt that really I should be doing other things than learning a song in Chinese.

Each morning,  I’d be kicking a bag and Shifu would wander up to me, pen in mouth, translation in hand. He would change a line here or a word there, perfecting it like a poem. He used the same concentration he used for his kung fu. I guess that’s why his translation is so good. But I was pretty pissed off because just as I’d learnt an impossible to pronounce word , he’d swap it for an equally impossible to pronounce word and I had to start all over again.

My friend, Yonghu ( his name means Brave Tiger) came to the recording studio to make sure I was pronouncing it correctly. It usually takes about two hours for a lead vocal but this took six.

And do Chinese people understand? Chinese people understand about 75 % of what I sing without reading the lyrics, which I think is pretty good innings for my first Chinese song. Even if I was native Chinese,  Chinese people wouldn’t understand some of what I sang because when a person sings there are no tones so the words can mean different things.  For example, my boyfriend’s name is Yan Lei. His name means thunder but it can mean tears depending on the tone.  One day I was listening to a Chinese song and I recognised the word ” Yan Lei” and I said “that’s you” and he said “no it’s not, it’s tears.”

Listen to Everywhere You Go

Listen to The Chinese version

About katamusic

Feist getting intimate with Air in Snow Patrol's bedroom. Previously known as Nut, she recorded the album for Sony. Described at the time as a “little known masterpiece", it was championed by DJ's Phil Jupitus, Mark Radcliffe and Jo Whiley Her unique blend of acoustic guitars, seductive pop and vintage electronics is certain to appeal to fans of the likes of Florence and the Machine, Sia and Emiliana Torrini. Co-produced by Andy Ramsay (Stereolab) Kata has created an album which she describes as sounding like Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath before the inception of the Birthday Letters. "Breaking Up With You Is The Best Thing That Ever Happened To Me" is out now on bandcamp.
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3 Responses to 伴你走天涯 – Tears & Thunder Mean The Same Thing When Sung Out Loud

  1. pete doree says:

    Hi Kata, just found your site. I actually saw you play with Billy Rain what seems like a long time ago, with an ex of mine who I think was a vague friend of yours. Anyway, I stole her copy of ‘Salad Days’ and played it to death. ( and was playing it today hence me finding your site ) Great to hear your voice on new material! Immediately put ‘Into Your Arms’ and ‘Count 2 three’ on facebook. Well, off to buy yer new album…

    • katamusic says:

      Billy Rain was a long time ago! Feels like another life. Thanks for remembering me. I hope you like my new album. xx

      • pete doree says:

        I absolutely love the new album! Haven’t stopped playing it all week. Favourite tracks: Count 2 Three, Save My Life & Mountain Talk, but honestly it’s all great. So nice to be able to say not:
        ‘here’s a great album you’ve never heard’ ( salad days ) but ‘here’s a great album you need to buy now’.
        By the way, I’ve been having a bit of trouble with my bank lately ( possible identity theft ), and just want to make sure you did get my payment for the album. Can you let me know if you didn’t?
        And one more thing: Any chance of an mp3 of the ‘Into My Arms’ performance? It’s incredible.

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