February 11, 2021
Featuring records from Hong Kong, Taiwan, China, Singapore, and Malaysia during the ’50s-’80s.
In VF Live, our favourite DJs take you inside their homes, record shops, and studios, for intimate mixes and performances.
YiuYiu aka Rochelle Kwan makes her debut, playing records from Hong Kong, Taiwan, China, Singapore, and Malaysia from the ’50s-’80s:
“As a community organiser in New York City’s Manhattan Chinatown, I’ve had the privilege and joy of building relationships across generations. One of these relationships is with Uncle Vic, who basically adopted me as his Chinatown goddaughter from the moment we met.
It all started with me gushing to Uncle Vic about my dad’s records, which I had found hidden in my family’s home in California, just a few days before I had packed up to move to New York. From there, Uncle Vic told me about his grandfather’s record and tape collection that covers an entire wall in his apartment, most of which hadn’t been touched for decades. So, he asked me if I wanted them, along with his mixer, and an extra turntable.
Now, every few weeks, he shows up at my door with another bag of records for me, and more stories about his days of youth, following rock bands around Beijing and Shanghai, or organizing in Chinatown during the ’60s and ’70s.
As I started telling more folks in Chinatown about these records, more and more people came to me, saying that they too had their family’s record collections tucked away in their homes, unplayed for decades, but filled with meaningful memories of home and family.
Every single one of these records has a story that comes with it, from someone’s father running into their burning laundromat to save their record collection to someone growing up in a family of Cantonese opera performers above the only record store in Chinatown.
So, not only am I inheriting these Chinatown family record collections, but I’m being let into the homes that they once rang through thanks to the stories that come with them. It has also brought me closer to my own family, all the way across the country, as they recall memories of dancing through their youth. I’d like to think that my family also finds extra joy in knowing that I go by the name they’ve always called me, YiuYiu.
This project is deeply rooted at the intersection of community and music. At a time when we can’t physically be together on the dancefloor, hosting Zoom dance parties with our community, and seeing a multigenerational crowd dancing, and sharing music and memories, in the chat has been so special. This is still very new to me, but I find comfort and strength in knowing that I have a community behind me, cheering me on each time.
A very special thanks to Think!Chinatown, Vic, Amy, Tinhua, Stefani, Grayson, Betty, Yin, Dad, and PoPo for trusting me to hold your family’s memories and records with care.
This show is specially dedicated to our dear friend and longtime community member, Corky Lee. I hope we make you proud, as we continue to build and create together in community down here.”
1. 趙玉齋 – 四段錦
2. 孫一華 – 相思河畔
3. 潘秀瓊 – 三百六十五朵玫瑰
4. 包娜娜 – 魚兒那裡來
5. 夏心 – 醒來吧!雷夢娜
6. 犬雅 – 為什麼春天要遲到
7. 鍾玲玲 – 太陽在心頭
8. 梁依玲 – 尋夢的人
9. 犬雅 – 我問白雲
10. 林竹君 – 只要和你長相依
11. 麥潔文 – 愛情絕緣體
My dad once told me that he learned English partly from singing to disco when he arrived in the U.S. Pulled from my dad’s collection, this is one of my favorite Canto-pop songs to sing. Although I may not have a full grasp of the Cantonese language I grew up speaking at home anymore, I’m hoping that by hearing and sounding out these tones over and over again, I’ll find my way back to the language through Canto-pop.
12. 鄭少秋 – 愛剛起步
13. 鄺美雲 – 內心位置
14. 吳秀珠 – 我不知道秫愛你
15. 陳百強 – Holiday
16.. 袁麗嫦 – 百厭仔唔肯吔飯
Cantonese music, especially Cantopop, revolves so heavily around romantic love and intimate language, a set of vocabulary that I did not grow up hearing in my day-to-day. As a result, I most often do not understand anything that they are singing. However, I remember when I first heard this song, I realized that I understood everything because 袁麗嫦 is singing about a young child who won’t eat his food and how embarrassed his family is of him. This is vocabulary my siblings and I grew up hearing in our family.
17. 陳劳蘭 – 不是一個春儚
18. 劉韻 – 明知失戀是痈苦
19. 劉明沅 – 喜車
Head here to find out more about Think!Chinatown.