Home / Lifestyle / People

Poetry then, songs now

By Chen Nan | China Dailiy | Updated: 2017-04-26 08:02

Poetry then, songs now

Veteran composer Gu Jianfen instructs children who will perform her songs based on classical literature. [Photo by Zou Hong/For China Daily]

Over the past six decades, Gu Jianfen has emerged as one of the country's most prolific composers, with hundreds of songs, including The Kiss From Mother, Missing and Young Friends Come Together. She has also mentored pop stars, such as Na Ying and Mao Amin. But now Gu is looking for new challenges.

"I have had many offers to write pop songs but I turned them down. I want to do other things," says Gu, 82.

Since 2005, she has composed 50 songs with classical literature as lyrics that are meant to deepen the understanding of traditional culture among children and the youth.

San Zi Jing, or The Three-Character Classic, a 13th-century text for children on Confucian philosophy, and Di Zi Gui, or Standards for Being a Good Pupil and Child, written in the 17th century about Confucius' teachings, have been turned into songs. Many ancient poems, including A Spring Morning and A Traveler's Song by two Tang Dynasty (618-907) poets have also been made into songs.

The China Oriental Performing Arts Group will perform many of the songs in Beijing on May 31. Ahead of the Beijing concert, Gu and the group launched a tour of Northeast China on April 15. The performers sang songs composed by Gu in college campuses, including Harbin Institute of Technology, Harbin Engineering University, Heilongjiang University and Northeast Forestry University.

"I hope the songs will be included in educational material in schools. This could be my final contribution," says Gu.

Gu got the idea of combining traditional Chinese text with music more than a decade ago when a friend told her that children here have few choices in music-"they either listen to pop songs for adults or songs from cartoon films".

"Music is important for the development of a person, from childhood and adolescence to adulthood. As a younger mother, I wanted my children to listen to good music," she adds.

Previous 1 2 Next

Copyright 1995 - . All rights reserved. The content (including but not limited to text, photo, multimedia information, etc) published in this site belongs to China Daily Information Co (CDIC). Without written authorization from CDIC, such content shall not be republished or used in any form. Note: Browsers with 1024*768 or higher resolution are suggested for this site.
License for publishing multimedia online 0108263

Registration Number: 130349