Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Teresa Teng (鄧麗君) The East Asian Chinese Sweetheart

Teresa Teng or Tang/Dèng Lìjūn (1953 - 1995) was exceptionally popular and influential as a Taiwanese singer. Her voice and songs are instantly recognizable in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Japan. "In areas where there are Chinese people, the songs of Teresa Teng can be heard."

As a young child, Teresa won awards for her singing at talent competitions. Her first major prize was in 1964 when she sang "Visiting Yingtai" from Shaw Brothers, at an event hosted by Taiwan's China Radio Station. 

Her career soared and she was able to support her family during Taiwan's new and developing economy in the 1960's. With family blessings, Teresa left school to pursue singing professionally. Nothing could stop this phenomenon as she soared in the world of Chinese pop.

She was known for her folk songs and romantic ballads and most of them have become classics even during her lifetime. She recorded many songs that are now staples of popular Chinese music; the most popular include "When Will You Return?" and "The Moon Represents My Heart."

In addition to her Mandarin repertoire, she also recorded songs in Taiwanese, Cantonese, Japanese, Indonesian, and English. She had, at one time, sold more albums than any other East-Asian singer but that record has since been surpassed.

Miss Teng was especially famous in China, where for much of the 1980's she was a litmus test of the political winds: when the authorities eased controls, her music sold briskly in little shops in the tiniest towns; when the hard-liners clamped down, her music was banned.

She was one of the first foreign singers whose music was swept into China after the country started opening up in the late 1970's, and she soon became a symbol of capitalist joys.

Known in Chinese as Deng Lijun, Miss Teng's surname was the same as that of Deng Xiaoping, China's paramount leader. So she was jokingly known as Little Deng, and in some circles, she was nearly as famous as he. Even peasants in the countryside were familiar with her songs and brightly coloured costumes.

Many other foreign singers became popular in China, but none captured the hearts of the country as she did. During her career, she entertained troops in her homeland with romantic ballads. Her songs were banned in China but with millions of bootleg copies, she was just as popular. Another saying explains that "Old Teng rules the day and Little Teng the night."

She has received many awards for her singing and there is also a foundation in her name. She died at the age of 42 as a result of a severe asthma attack while holidaying in Thailand in 1995.

YouTube: Teresa Teng video.
Article from: Sheryl WuDunn, Wikipedia and Websites in memory of Teresa Teng.
Images: Google.


Anonymous said...

A great pity for such a well-loved and extremely popular singer to depart from the scene with such suddenness. RICHARD FONG

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Yes a great pity indeed. But like all talented, lady singers with exceptionally beautiful voices are immortalised on multi-media.