On our first official date together, John happened to slip a CD in my portable CD player, Lěngkù Dàodǐ by Yu Quan. I gave him one of the earbuds, turned the CD player on, and we listened to it all the way to the vegetarian restaurant. I’ll never forget how I felt the moment Cǎihóng, or Rainbow, came on, a song in Chinese that described the ultimate love as more gorgeous than a rainbow. Much of their music captured the kind of innocence and beauty that surrounded my love with John, and I couldn’t help but wonder if he even chose that CD on purpose. Let’s just say this: by the time John and I arrived at that restaurant, I already fell in love twice — with him and this new musical group.
There’s a certain irony in John romancing me with music. After all, he is tone-deaf. Then again, when you’re tone deaf, maybe the best way to say “I love you” is giving your girlfriend the perfect love song — in our case, Cǎihóng. I think it took me less than a week to learn how to sing it back to him, and soon, I used to charm John on evening walks in Hangzhou by serenading him with our favorite Yu Quan song.
If only I could have sang it at our wedding. It’s not that John and I couldn’t find the song to play at our ceremony — I happened to lose my voice on our wedding day. I’ll never forget that realization by mid-day, and all the tears that came along with it, tears that didn’t go with my bridal gown or my perfectly made-up face. To make matters worse, we planned to have a karaoke party after the wedding — one of my most favorite things to do, and I couldn’t even sing, let alone talk.
That evening at the karaoke party, my husband’s closest friends and classmates, the guys he always called his “brothers,” called us over to their room in the karaoke joint, and demanded a song. I shook my head in silence, and didn’t know what to do. Then John stood up, chose Cǎihóng by Yu Quan, and belted out the most off-key, off-rhythm version of the song I’d ever heard.
Now that’s love.
What’s your favorite Chinese love song? Why?
P.S.: If you’re curious, you can listen to Cǎihóng, or Rainbow by Yu Quan right here.