Music is a quintessential part of any culture, and Chinese folk music was a large part of my upbringing. My mom would belt out her favorite songs while doing errands in the house all the time, so I quickly memorized the lyrics without knowing what they meant. Her all-time favorite artist was Teresa Teng, a Taiwanese folk singer who was most famous for her songs “When Will You Return?” and “The Moon Represents My Heart.” My mom had a karaoke DVD of Teng’s concerts and would put them on the TV, often singing her heart out while ignoring my complaints. There were many Saturday mornings when I was awakened by the loud crooning of my mom and the TV. My mom hasn’t busted out the DVD in years, but instead of the annoyance I felt before, I’ve come to really enjoy listening to Teng’s music and find that the familiar tunes are relaxing.
Road trips down to Disneyland during my childhood were spent listening to CDs my dad had prepared in a thick CD holder. The music usually consisted of Disney movie soundtracks, 80’s music, but most of all, Chinese classics. The trips were long and the CDs only carried a limited number of songs, so we listened to the same songs again and again. Among these was a Cantonese cover of George Michael’s “Careless Whisper” by Anita Mui. I listened to this version so much that when I finally heard Michael’s original I thought it was a cover of the Chinese version. Now when I listen to Mui’s cover, I’m always left with a smile on my face. Take a listen below!