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Prose: Songs of Youth | The Master of Watching the Rain | Songs | Fields

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Prose: Songs of Youth | The Master of Watching the Rain | Songs | Fields

Author: Lord Guanyu Hall

Whenever I think back to the distant boyhood, “Our Field” sounds in my ears. The singing voice is simple and elegant, the melody seems to be narrating, and the leisurely mood is full of freedom. (shutterstock)

There must be some songs that I sang in my youth that I will never forget. When I revisit those familiar melodies in my old age, I seem to return to the joy of the past. In the late 19th century, the Japanese poet Kunikida Doppo said: “If the joy of youth is poetry, then the sorrow of youth is also poetry; if the joy hidden in the heart of nature should be sung, then the sorrow that whispers to the heart of nature should also be sung.“My youth was in the 1950s. My life was carefree and carefree. There was no academic burden, let alone sadness, but it was full of laughter and singing. At that time, the elementary school had music classes dedicated to singing every week. I still think about it. Still vivid.

The female teacher who taught us singing was surnamed Zhang, about 40 years old, and a little fat. Teacher Zhang wears a pair of gold-rimmed glasses. She has never seen her speak loudly to students in memory. Everyone can feel her kindness and gentleness. In music class, we learn simple music theory knowledge and staves, and also learn to sing many songs, including a few world famous songs. Some songs are forgotten after singing, some songs are not completely forgotten, but there is no interest in recalling them, and some songs are unforgettable for a lifetime. There are also songs that I can’t forget because they are connected with the past when I was young. It seems that in the fourth grade, Teacher Zhang taught a song “Hot Blood”, which was an episode of the movie “Singing at Midnight” in the 1930s. The melody is passionate and majestic:

Who wants to be a slave? Who wants to be a horse and an ox?
The flames of humanity ignited throughout Europe.
For fraternity, equality, and liberty,
Willing to pay any price, even our heads…

At the end of the semester, as usual, everyone in the music class has a score. The basis for this score is to freely choose a song from the songs learned in the semester, stand next to Teacher Zhang’s piano and sing to everyone, accompanied by Teacher Zhang . This is equivalent to each person getting a chance to sing on stage alone. At the end of that semester, all the boys in the class chose “Hot Blood” when it was their turn to take the stage. In memory, the girl chose a pastoral song. The name of the song has long been forgotten, it is not the “Shepherd Song” in the movie “Shaolin Temple” after the Cultural Revolution. The pastoral song has a touch of narrative lyricism, and I can only vaguely remember the general meaning of the lyrics, which means that after returning home from school at dusk, I will lead the sheep to the hillside, “The sheep eat grass and I sing“. Such a leisurely, tranquil, and idyllic picture is very similar to today’s schoolchildren”Don’t lose at the starting line“The hardships and burdens are really a world of difference.

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However, among the girls back then, two unexpectedly chose “Hot Blood”, which seemed a bit deviant. I still remember this incident in the music class when I was young, because one of the girls was my neighbor, her name was Song □□. Her house is only about 50 meters away from our house, and she dances rubber bands with girls in the same class in the afternoon, often right in front of our house. I forgot whether it was in the third grade or the fourth grade. Once my mother came to school. Just as we were in the playground after class, I saw my mother slipping away, and then hid in the corner and watched secretly. At this time Song □□ went up to meet her and accompanied her mother to the teacher’s office, which made me secretly grateful. I still haven’t forgotten the song “Hot Blood” because “Hot Blood” is connected with my life experience when I was young.

Some of my contemporaries, especially the third generation who call themselves “Youth Without Regrets”, often talk about the song “Let’s Swing Oars”. “Let’s Swing the Sculls” came out in 1955, and we learned to sing mechanically from the teacher, not to mention the joy we were fascinated by. After middle age, I gradually understood that the year before 1955, the “Hu Feng Group” suffered a large-scale siege, and two years later, the “rectification and anti-rightist movement” shocked the whole country. Since then, intellectuals have all kneeled down. “Let us swing our oars, and the boat pushes the waves.Beautiful white pagoda reflected in the water surrounded by green trees and red wallssounds like a picture, and the musical image has a clear whitewash.Regarding the catastrophe that countless intellectuals suffered in 1957, the biggest function of “Swinging the Sculls” is to cover up. Although I am the first generation of students to learn to sing “Swinging the Sculls”, as the world changes, my dislike for “Swinging the Sculls” is increasing day by day. “beautiful white tower“and”green tree red wall“, describes Beihai Park, which actually only belongs to the second generation of the red. How many people still know that many young rightist students in Beijing universities came to “beautiful white tower“Bian Shenhu committed suicide.

For most urban teenagers, “swinging the sculls” is only an experience during spring or autumn outings. For teenagers in rural and mountainous areas, and for the vast number of rural teenagers in Henan, Anhui, Sichuan, Guangxi…, “swinging oars” and “white tower and red wall” are even more distant dreams. Do you know how many naked teenagers starved to death in that era? The last paragraph of “Swinging the Sculls”: “I ask your dear partner, who will arrange a happy life for us?This is even more blatant flattery to the totalitarian evil party.The so-called “dear partner“, clearly referring to the princelings. For the young people who are suffering, this is an out-and-out huge deception. The young people who have struggled at the bottom of society think that they are also “dear partner“, every time I sing “Swinging the Oars”, I am as swaying as Ah Q, it is really sentimental. It is specially for the princelings”arrange a happy life“The person, who is it?”

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When I was nearly middle-aged, listening to Taiwan Luo Dayou’s “Childhood” really made me feel intoxicated. The feelings expressed in “Childhood” seem to have my own shadow:

……
The teacher’s chalk on the blackboard,
Still desperately writing on twitter.
Waiting for get out of class to end, waiting for school to end,
Childhood waiting for the game.
……
Always wait until bedtime,
Only then did I realize that I only did a little bit of homework;
Always wait until after the exam,
Only then did I realize that I hadn’t read the books that should have been read.

This is clearly my “childhood”, there is no need for “beautiful white towers”, “green trees and red walls”, let alone “push away the waves”. What I like is the ignorance, childishness and truth expressed in “Childhood”:
……
The girl in the next class,
Why haven’t you passed my window yet?
……
no one can tell me,
Are there any gods living in the mountains?

In fact, when I was young, there was also a song comparable to “Childhood”, which was “Our Fields” taught by Teacher Zhang. How many years have passed, and every time I recall the distant boyhood, “Our Field” sounds in my ears. The singing voice is simple and elegant, without any trace of carving, but the artistic conception of the melody is highlighted to be full of poetry. The tune seems to be narrated, and the long mood is full of freedom. Whenever I sing this song, I can see the fields and rivers of that era, the rice fields under the blue sky and white clouds, and the reeds and wild ducks by the water. When I was young, how many times I watched the rain hitting the glass windows, and what I thought of was the appearance of “our field” in the rain. The Cultural Revolution seemed to overwhelm this beautiful melody, and “Our Fields” still cannot be forgotten after the Cultural Revolution. It is a pity that time cannot be turned back. With today’s urbanization trend, people can no longer return to “our fields”. There is no doubt that “Our Field” is the most memorable song in my life:

Our fields, beautiful fields.
The green river flows through the boundless rice fields.
The boundless rice fields are like the undulating sea.

The calm lake is full of lotus flowers.
The golden carp looks so fat.
Flocks of wild ducks are hidden among the reeds by the lake.
……

“Our field” has long since drifted away from the present era. The fields of my youth have also disappeared without a trace, and the teacher Zhang who taught us this song has probably passed away long ago.“Green River”, “Boundless Rice Fields”, “Lotus in the Lake”, “Reeds and Wild Ducks by the Lake”…can only be found in dreams. In the suburbs of Shanghai, some ancient towns and old streets are constantly being developed and packaged, and “our fields” are gradually disappearing without knowing it. The well-known Zhujiajiao, Fengjing, Xinchang and other Jiangnan water towns have become crowded tourist attractions. The most eye-catching signs of these scenic spots are the snack bars next to each other under the red lanterns hanging high, scrambling to greet pedestrians; the bustling crowd, holding boxes of stinky tofu in their hands while eating and walking. When I looked down, the rivers that crossed were all filthy. A few years ago, my wife and I went to Shandong, passing through Rizhao, Penglai, Weihai, Qingdao and other places. In the fields far away from the cities in the past, there were rows of vacant unfinished buildings everywhere. Where can I find the “beautiful field” in the boy’s singing?

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Fortunately, about ten years ago, I saw a video on the Internet, in which the Liaoning Youth Choir sang “Our Field”. I seemed to be suddenly immersed in the joy of reuniting after a long absence. A few years ago, I saw a video of a Shanghai singer singing “Our Field” with her young daughter. More than 60 years have passed, but I did not expect anyone to remember “Our Field”. There is no doubt that the singer has a well-trained professional training and a talented voice; the boy choir also sang this song under the guidance of professionals. Listen carefully, unfortunately, in their singing, it is difficult to find the flavor of “Our Field” when I was young, and it is also difficult to find the flavor of the country fields in the 1950s.Especially at a subtle point—immediately”green river water’ Afterwards, a short rest was dropped.This rest is probably the finishing touch. Music is magical. Without this rest, “Our Fields” will lose its original charm to a large extent.

I remembered that in 1999, people were listening to the chorus “Song of the Seven Sons” sung by Macao schoolchildren in front of the TV screen: “You know ‘ma—cau’ is not my real name, I’ve been away from you for too long, Mother!“I didn’t expect the singing to be so exciting at the beginning. Soon, the Shanghai Xiaoyingxing Art Troupe also rehearsed this song and broadcast it live on TV. Most of the members of the Xiaoyingxing Art Troupe are too clever and clever. They are the stars of tomorrow. They receive professional guidance, and their singing is so exquisite that it is impeccable. Their singing voices even reveal a sophistication beyond their age. It is a pity that the singing of the little stars lacks the inadvertent expression of The simplicity, childishness and innocence. You know, that is the most precious element of singing, which is completely natural and cannot be obtained by imitation. The overall temperament of an urban teenager is hidden in the singing, and no one can change it. This is the same reason that the original style of “Our Field” cannot be forced, let alone copied.

Yes! People today may never be able to return to “our fields” back then. Although there are still people who can sing “Our Field”, it is no longer “Our Field” when I was young. @

Responsible editor: Lin Fangyu

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