Saturday, March 02, 2019

Wu Ying Yin (吳鶯音) : Nasal Queen of Chinese Evergreen

I am no Chinese scholar nor even speak the language but quite familiar with a few of her songs because she was as much a 40's Shanghai music icon as Zhou Xuan but I do not know her name and only managed to learn her identity through a few proficient and bi-lingually educated friends. 

Wu Yingyin (Woo Ing Ing - image) had passed away.  This songstress, known as the 'Nasal Queen' because of the quality of her voice, had recorded many songs which are now Chinese evergreens.

                                                     Wu Yingyin 吴莺音 - 岷江夜曲

Again, I learned of the songs through my mother, who used to have stacks of 78 rpm. records. Of course in the midst of moving from one home to another during the '50s when I was still a child, the heavy black records disappeared, either broken or just discarded. 

Some of the songs from these records included: The Bright Moon Sends My Love To You (Ming Yue Qian Li Ji Xiang Si), Regretting Not Falling For You (Hen Bu Zhong Qing Zai Dang Nian), Min River Serenade (Min Jiang Yue Qu), I Had Been Loved (Wo You Yi Duan Qing) and the New Year Song, Spring Returns (Da Di Hui Chun).

Wu Ying-Yin - The Bright Moon Will Send My Love To You 1948 吳鶯音-明月千里寄相思

At 24 years, she won a nightclub singing contest and was immediately contracted to a Hong Kong record company and, I Wish To Forget You became a top hit in 1946.

Pathe Records in China made her famous and she went on to record many pop hits. Her voice was that of an *Oriole or Ying Yin as she recorded her first hit, I Want To Forget You. She went on to record more than two dozen hits.

Queen of the nasal voice became very famous and recorded many more songs in Hong Kong until the 1980's when she migrated to the US. She kept up her singing career.

At 82, she appeared in Singapore to hold a solo concert and became the oldest singer ever on record. She lived in Los Angeles, California with a family, friends and many fans to mourn her loss when she died at age 87.
Edited article from The Straits Times Life Section, Singapore (December 21st, 2009).

Images:  Google.

This article has been re-posted because of its popularity. 

*The Oriole bird  (image below) has a range of clear melodious whistles and Chinese songstresses of yore with beautiful voices have been compared to this particular bird.

Singapore Trivia: 
The image of the Oriole appears on the SG $500 bill under the Bird Series and the SG 50 Cents stamp (1991) and $1.00 stamp (2002) Garden Bird Series.

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