广东粤语音乐联盟

Listen to China's Most Famous Singers

中印大同网2019-04-14 12:53:38

Listening to music can be both passive (just put the music on and doze off or do dishes) and active (study lyrics, listen to songs repeatedly and sing along), which makes it a great activity to use for both types of learning—and a way to practice some Chinese even if you don’t have enough energy for more active study.


You can learn vocabulary from song lyrics, and singing along to music is excellent pronunciation practice, although not necessarily a good way to practice tones. You’ll need to put in extra time on tones outside your music time.


Knowing Famous Singers Is Important for Cultural Literacy


Right about now, you’re probably thinking that you’re more into indie bands who have a loyal following of 800 people. That’s fine. But you still need to know who the famous people are, or when people make reference to them in conversation you won’t know what’s going on. It’s like not knowing who Lady Gaga or The Beatles are. Part of getting the cultural literacy is knowing not just who the person is, but being familiar with his or her most famous work.


Famous Singers Are a Gateway


If you want to ultimately be a connoisseur of obscure Chinese music, it’s best to start with getting to know not-so-obscure work. It’s also a lot easier to find song lyrics, YouTube videos and other materials online for well-known artists and their well-known work than it is for more obscure titles.


You can also listen to Mandopop radio, but that’s best for times when you’re just looking for background music. If you’re doing a more active listening exercise, it’s best to be intentional about what songs and singers you’re listening to.


So let’s dive into some Chinese singers!


邓丽君 (dèng lì jūn) – Teresa Teng

Image: Asia Trend




Possibly the most famous Chinese singer out there, 邓丽君 started singing professionally as a teenager in the 1960s and her career stayed strong until she died at age 42 in 1995.


She’s known for romantic ballads and folk songs. Although most of her songs were covers, her interpretation of many songs is still the most recognized version.




周杰倫 (zhōu jié lún) – Jay Chou

Image: Hello Asia




周杰倫 broke into the Taiwanese music scene in 2000, and is part of the younger generation of pop stars. Like other Chinese pop singers, he has a stable base of popular romantic ballads, but unlike many pop stars, he also has many songs that address societal issues like urban sprawl, drug addiction and domestic violence.


He writes most of his own music but works with songwriters to craft the lyrics, generally speaking. His style is more rap or spoken word than melodic, which makes his work great for listening practice—but careful, it goes fast!




彭丽媛 (péng lì yuán) – Peng Liyuan

Image: Daily Express




She’s not the country’s absolute most famous singer—but if you don’t know who 彭丽媛 is, you’re living under a rock. 彭丽媛 is known for her ballads and folk songs—and for being married to the most powerful man in China, 习近平 (xí jìn píng). The couple has been married since 1987 and, for most of their marriage, 彭丽媛 was undoubtedly the more famous of the two. He labored away in relatively remote political posts, while she gained fame for her regular appearances on CCTV’s New Year’s gala and toured extensively both in China as well as throughout Europe and the Americas. 


Her songs have a distinct patriotic flavor - no surprise!




王菲 (wáng fēi) – Faye Wong

Image: Glam Your Image




Beijing native 王菲 actually launched her career in the early 90s in Hong Kong, at a time when Mainlanders suffered from a host of negative stereotypes in Hong Kong. She was encouraged to hide her origins by adopting another name and singing in Cantonese—and she actually holds the Guinness World Record for being the best-selling female Cantopop singer. But 王菲 moved back to singing in Mandarin more or less as soon as she had sufficient artistic clout to do so, around the mid-1990s. Her songs are considered to be a mix of traditional, crowd-pleasing pop songs and more alternative style music.




张学友 (zhāng xué yŏu) – Jacky Cheung

Image: Yahoo




Born and raised in Hong Kong, 张学友 sings in Cantonese, Mandarin and English, and is famous throughout Asia for songs in all of those languages. His album “吻别” (“Goodbye Kiss”) became one of the highest-selling albums ever in Asia when it came out in 1993. The album helped solidify 张学友’s place in the Mandopop market (as opposed to the Cantopop market) and he became hugely popular in Taiwan, where “吻别” is still the the second-highest-selling album ever.





Source: FluentU


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