My Family History

Trace your ancestors and then immortalise them!

                              The Lesser Known Singers of Old Shanghai


 Bai Yun - Anticipating Dusk in the Misty, Drizzly Rain


    Bai Yun - Willow Branches Are Green  1946

        Liang Ping - Our Ageless Papa   1947

 Time and Space prevents me from giving the nightingales here their own page. But each carved their name into Chinese Popular Music, and are fondly remembered by those who knew them, and by those who have met their music - myself included.

Opposite you see the famous Bund in Shanghai, as it was in the 1930s. By day it was a bustling port making Shanghai one of the busiest and most cosmopolitan cities in the world. By night, it was full of clubs and dance halls, where people of all nationalities and occupations sang and danced the night away. It was the centre of China's Film Industry and its Music Recording Industry. The Hollywood of the East. Let's meet our first singer.

 Bai Yun

Though Bai Yun didn't achieve the fame of other ‘Bai’s’ such as Bai Hong or Bai Guang, she was a fine singer in her own right as this wonderful late 1940s song shows. A delicate voice full of charm and vitality. Her name ‘Bai Yun’ means White Cloud. It is also the name of a mountain, and of a very famous Giant Panda. You can hear 8 of her 10 Shanghai period songs at jbhchan's wonderful You Tube channel, where he plays them from the original disks!

Follow her words as she sings them.

Xì yǔ míméng pàn huánghūn, miǎn bǎ yúnbìn shū qízhěng, lǎn tuō xiāng sāi xié yǐ mén, chī pàn qíngláng fǎn guīchéng.

Xì yǔ míméng pàn huánghūn, yáowàng gǎng tóu kū shù zhèn, chuīyān liáorào wú lùrén, jìmò xīntóu qiān yàng chén.

Jìde nà nián liǎng lí fēn, qīfēngkǔyǔ sòng yuǎnzhēng, wàn yǔ qiānyán wúcóng wèn, mùsòng láng shì zhèng huánghūn.

Xì yǔ míméng pàn huánghūn, yáowàng gǎng tóu kū shù zhèn, chuīyān liáorào wú lùrén, jìmò xīntóu qiān yàng chén.

Chinese Beliefs About The Willow

To the Chinese the willow branch symbolizes healing: especially for the heart. However, in Feng Shui this plant it is not advisable to grow this plant in ones garden as  according to landscape  Feng Shui principles advise this weeping tree brings down the energy of the place.  It is also representative of tears and sorrow.  The occupants of the house will have a tendency to feel depressed all the time.  That is why the plant is usually grown in parks and temples. 

Some people carry willow branches with them on the day of their Tomb Sweeping or Quingming Festival. Willow branches are also put up on gates or front doors, which they believe help ward off the evil spirits that wanders on Qingming. Taoist witches use a small carving made from willow wood for communicating with the spirits of the dead. The image is sent to the nether world, where the disembodied spirit is deemed to enter it, and give the desired information to surviving relatives on its return.

Liang Ping 

Liang Ping grew up in Shanghai. After graduation, she went to the Shanghai National Music Institute to study vocal music, music theory, piano and choral skills. She was a mezzo-soprano, and treated her songs with a classical interpretation, a jazz delivery, and occasionally a traditional ballad style. She recorded 30 songs before moving to Hong Kong in 1951. She also lived in Singapore for some time, and in 1971 she emigrated to the USA where she taught in San Francisco.

Pinyin Singalong with the song

Bàba bàba, qīn'ài de bàba, Bàba bàba, bùlǎo de bàba, Qīn'ài de bàba, bùlǎo de bàba. Nǐ mǎnkǒu méiyǒu yī kē yá, nǐ mǎn tóu de bái tóufà, Nǐ zhěng tiān xīxīhāhā, huóxiàng yīgè yángwáwá. Báitiān li bù chī yě bùpà, wǎn yèlǐ bù shuì yě bùpà, Pà zhǐ pà rénjiā ya, jiào nǐ shēng lǎo bàba. Bàba bàba, qīn'ài de bàba, Bàba bàba, bùlǎo de bàba. Qīn'ài de bàba, bùlǎo de bàba. Nǐ zuótiān jiào wǒ zhǒng guā, nǐ jīntiān jiào tā huà túhuà, Nǐ zhěng tiān máng mang lùlù, quán wèi wǒle wǒmen jiānglái zhǎngdà. Méiyǒu yíchǎn tiándì yě bùpà, méiyǒu módēng xiǎngshòu yě bùpà, Pà zhǐ pà wǒmen ya, yòu lǎn yòu shǎguā.