My Family History

Trace your ancestors and then immortalise them!

                         Zhang Lu 张露 1932 - 2009

Zhang Lu (Chang Loo) was born in Suzhou on January 21 1932. At the age of four, she moved with her family to Shanghai. One day in 1945, she sang a song for her brother to get him to sleep. A neighbour, who worked at the local radio station, had heard her. Soon, she was singing as a 14 years old at the Shanghai radio station without telling her mother. Her father had died when she was four, and she wanted to help her family out. She was introduced as "Miss Zhang Da". She became popular in clubs and sang at the Cotton Tree Restaurant and the Luo Lan cafe.

Zhang started her recording career in 1946, and made her first film early in 1948. She moved to Hong Kong in 1952. In  1959, she married musician Ollie Delfino from Singapore, and they had two sons. They emigrated to Canada in 1980, but returned to Hong Kong in 1985 to help her son's future. In November 2008, she made her last trip to China. She went with her ​​son, Alex. She sang "Gei Wed yige wen" to the public. Zhang died at 4pm on January 26, 2009 ... New Year's Day.

A vivacious performer, she was always pushing the boundaries of Chinese popular music with her interpretations of the latest sounds from around the world (from Hank Williams and Patsy Cline to Japanese enka and Hawaiian hula) She epitomized the global vogue for all things cosmopolitan. According to an interview in The Age of Shanghainese Pops, it was Brazilian singer Carmen Miranda who inspired her to take up singing.

"At 15 and 16 I was in Shanghai and had just left school. I liked music and in movies I happened to come across Carmen Miranda, a Brazilian singer - definitely the wild kind. In Shanghai we rarely had fruits, but she had fruits on her hat, a really big hat (with all those fruits). And the way she swung and wriggled, with very little clothes on. That kind of tropical allure, (as I watched) I just thought she was a goddess, and wanted to see more of it. She gave me a lot of inspiration, and it was then that I felt that foreign people were so open, so energetic. It made me feel that singing was a very enjoyable thing." ( thank you to - an amazing blog)

It was Chang's 1968 recording of Shepherd's Tears which for 23 years had inspired me, and kept me wondering who the 'mystery' singer was. I used to borrow D-90 cassette tapes from Mare Street Library, Hackney in the late 1980s, and make compilations of the ones I liked. It was Vietnamese music which most inspired me, but I collected about 200 mins of chinese music too. The three songs which remained my favourites over the years were all sung by Chang Loo ... though I didn't know it at the time. If you play Shepherd's Tears below and then open it up into You Tube, you can read the story of my search to identify the song on the thread below the song. Some fascinating comments from people during the two years, and over 30,000 viewings. It is also the song playing on the main page of this website.

Chang Loo therefore has a big place in my heart. During this project, I had come to love her 1940s jazz recordings, made when she was just sixteen. Little did I know then that she was my mystery singer! 

                   Please enjoy this garden, Zhang Lu. Built by  Firefly (Dom Dom) Hoa Tim Luc Binh and Chiron.
那個不多情 (1956) Love Is Everywhere
Film where Zhang Lu sings 2 songs.  Superb!
Copy paste link above

Above left is Chang Loo's long lost 1962 Pathe album "East and West" (CPA 155 ) which has finally been 'found' and beautifully re-mastered (NCCPA155-2VD) Above right is her Wonderful Life album. Below left is a compilation album with songs by Chang Loo's sister Xiao Loo too. Below right is  her 1968 album. An absolute  masterpiece.