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李香蘭 / Lee Hsiang Lan / Li Xianglang = 山口淑子 / Yoshiko Otaka / Yamaguchi / Ri Kōran

September 29, 2019

 大上海時代 經典黑膠唱片 

LP 2014-07-31 CD 2014-05-20


Unfortunately I can hardly find words to describe this artist. I often prefer original LP's whenever they are compiled carefully with a vision, which was the case for this album which truly is a 5 star masterpiece. Nice is to hear that there are a few more traditional song approaches. Mostly we have orchestrated pieces in 40s style, a perfect mixture of Western orchestra with a Chinese/eastern flavor typical for Shanghai. Li Xsiang was in fact Japanese but was born in Manchuria. She truly has one of the most out of this word beautiful voices ever existed, and sings nice songs as well, bringing you to somewhere more perfect, keeping emotionality rich at the same time. Some tracks have slow latin rhythms. Not only her voice is rich and colorful. She has also the most perfect looks as well. She appeared in several Shanghai movies as well. At some stage they called her "The Judy Garland of Japan." During the political conflicts she was forced to take Japan as her core home base more definitely. A highly recommended re-release. The Chinese reissue is hopeless expensive but still worth buying. There's a Japanese reissue of the compilation as well, in a perfect mini-LP reproduction format.


面 第一面 1. 蘭閨寂寂  2. 烏鴉配鳳凰  3. 身世飄零  4. 河上的月色  5. 心曲  6. 梅花 

第二面 1. 小時候  2. 三年  3. 十里洋場  4. 恨不相逢未嫁時  5. 只有你 6. 情枷愛鎖






There's also this over two hours double CD compilation released in Japan. I guess most tracks are directly taken from LP's so we also have some subtle but never disturbing soft surface background noise. The compilation starts very strong with an almost classical music context which suit and fits the singer's voice best. At such tracks I tend to say Li Xianling has one of there most beautiful voices ever. In combination with her looks and the songs one should admit that one "does not make this any more." The compilation listens nicely. It has of course enka-related tracks too, which are nice but do not always explore the full capacity of Li Xianglan/Yoshiko Yamaguchi extra justice. A great track to compare is "Yoruka" in a Chinese and in a Japanese version, of which also here the Chinese version for me stands out. Although I have problems listening to some Chinese singing from other Shanghai-related singers, in a way I think her Chinese songs still sound most powerful. Favourite Japanese songs include "What kind of flower is this?" (Lullaby of Itsuki) and "Knowing The Life of Flowers", with some Japanese picking instrument. 


Li Xianglan also appeared in many Hong Kong films. Since the 70s she was part of the Japanese political scene.


Some favourites: CD1 1 雲のふるさと / A home of clouds, 2 月のしずく / Droplets of the moon, 3 夜來香 (中国語) / Yoruka (=Night Scent) (Chinese version), 5 売糖歌 / Sugar song, 7 浜辺の歌 / Song on the beach, 8 宵待草 / Waiting for the green grass, 17 花はなんの花 (五木子守唄) / What kind of flower is this? (Lullaby of Itsuki -Itsuki no Komoriuta-) 18 花のいのちを誰か知る / Knowing the life of flowers 23 とこしえに / Eternally




Thesis on Ri Koran/Li Xianglan:





“Soshu Yakyoku” (from "China Nights" movie). 


君がみ胸に 抱かれて闻く

は 夢の船呗 鳥の歌 水の蘇州の

花散る春を 惜しむか 柳がすすり泣く

花を浮かべて 流れる水の 髪にか飾ろ

か 接吻しよか 君が手折し 桃の花 涙

ぐむよな おぼろの月に 钟が鸣ります 寒山寺 


In your embrace 

Dreamily I listen to the chanty and birdsong 

As the blossoms scatter along water-like Suzhou during spring

It’s such a pity 

Willows gently weep 

Floating flowers on a running river

Should I use the peach blossoms you picked to decorate my hair

or should I offer a kiss

The blurry moon seems very tearful 

Just now, the bell tolls in Hanshan Temple. 


translation : Mia Fan Ni for thesis (link up)