The book “Customs of Zhuang People” describes a remote village where people feel more comfortable singing to stranger than talking to them. So if you got lost in the mountains, you are better off singing your inquiries if you want to get directions from the locals.
I’ve just learned simple phrases to ask for directions in Zhuang . Now, I’ll actually have to sing it!? Better start practicing right now. So, I wrote this Song of Reunion, following very loosely the poetic template of The Joy of Reunion. The ultimate intention is to be able to sing it in Zhuang when my language skill is more advanced.
『壯族風情錄』裡說，在壯山裡問路，要用唱的人家才回答你。 這不是為難人嗎？ 我好不容易背了簡單的句子問路。這麼看來，練說的不夠，要練唱！ 所以，我寫了首相見歌，等我壯文再多學點，可以用壯文來唱。
Huan1, with a level tone, means “joy” in Mandarin Chinese. A word with similar sound fwen in Zhuang means “song”. Then, the poetic template named Xiang1-Jian4 Huan1, “The Joy of Reunion”, would be “Song of Reunion” in Zhuang.
歡, fwen, 壯文就是歌。那麼，『相見歡』就可以解做『相見歌』了.
Xiang1-Jian4 Huan1, “The Joy of Reunion“, was a very popular poetic template in Song Dynasty, which was passed down from the royal court of the Tang Dynasty. Translate it into a modern scenario, it is a song template that Tang musician has to study and memorize, for they were likely to be tested on it in the standardized exams of music classes.
相見歌－問祖母 Song of Reunion — Question to Grandma
To the west of the Cassia Forest, the riddle of life went back a thousand year.
Below the drifting white clouds, your home is hidden in miles of rice terrace .
With each step,
In each tune,
There are endless questions.
Layers of mountains,
Where could you be?
Take the vista points in the song. That’s where I am.
Read the feelings in the song. That’s where people are.
Live the world in the song. That’s where you are.