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Say It Right Series

My favorite Chinese song - 橄榄树

Posted by Tal June 18, 2009 in the Group General Discussion.

Tags: songs, Olive Tree, San Mao, 橄榄树, 三毛

I'd like to share my favorite Chinese song with you. (To many it will be quite familiar of course.) It's a beautiful song about being far from home, being a wanderer in distant places, being in pursuit of dreams, (so it can have a certain resonance for us foreigners in China!)

The language of the song is not too difficult though, and I believe that learning it is a fine way to both improve one's Chinese, and to pick up a little (contemporary) Chinese culture as the song is immensely popular in China and has an interesting history.

Check out this page of links to videos of the song, the current best-known version is by 齐豫 (Qi Yu). (If you're in China like me, the youtube links will not work unless you use a proxy site.)

Here are the words of the song (汉字 and Pinyin.)

búyào wèn wǒ cóng nàli lái
不要问我从那里来

wǒde gùxiāng zài yuǎnfāng
我的故乡在远方

wèishénme liúlàng
为什么流浪

liúlàng yuǎnfāng liúlàng
流浪远方流浪

wèile tiānkōng fēixiáng de xiǎo niǎo
为了天空飞翔的小鸟

wèile shān jiān qīng liú de xiǎo xī
为了山间清流的小溪

wèile kuānkuò de cǎoyuán
为了宽阔的草原

liúlàng yuǎnfāng liúlàng
流浪远方流浪

háiyǒu háiyǒu
还有还有...

wèile mèng zhōng de gǎnlǎnshù gǎnlǎnshù
为了梦中的橄榄树橄榄树

búyào wèn wǒ cóng nàli lái
不要问我从那里来

wǒde gùxiāng zài yuǎnfāng
我的故乡在远方

wèishénme liúlàng,
为什么流浪

wèishénme liúlàng yuǎnfāng
为什么流浪远方

wèile wǒ mèng zhōng de gǎnlǎnshù gǎnlǎnshù
为了我梦中的橄榄树

búyào wèn wǒ cóng nàli lái
不要问我从那里来

wǒde gùxiāng zài yuǎnfāng
我的故乡在远方

wèishénme liúlàng,
为什么流浪

liúlàng yuǎnfāng liúlàng
流浪远方流浪


I don't give an English translation, because it's a special pleasure to work out the meaning of the words yourself, if you don't already know of course! If you're struggling and would like a translation just say!

If you'd like to download an mp3 of the song you can obtain the 齐豫 version here, and here's another slightly more 'trippy' version that I like! Actually I think there are many versions, if anyone's got any others favorites let us know.

Here's an interesting page about the song's author, the mysterious and tragic 三毛 (San Mao).

It would be so interesting if any of our native Chinese friends can give us more information or insights into understanding and loving this song, so please don't be shy!

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