Chinese New Year is around the corner, and it is almost time for us to officially welcome the year of the Rooster!
Also known as the Lunar New Year, it is a festival celebrated in Asian countries and territories with significant Chinese populations like Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Singapore, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Malaysia!
Around this time of the year, you will start to see streets and malls decorated in red or yellow, and everywhere you go, Chinese New Year songs will be playing to bring forth the festive mood.
Speaking of Chinese New Year songs, we know that there are plenty of lovable classics that have been around for years, and every year, many new and modern ones turn up with the intention to become as iconic as the classics, and we have to admit, some of them are pretty unique.
So, in celebration of the Chinese New Year 2017, which the modern Chinese now refer to as the Spring Festival, we list down seven of the most unconventional CNY songs you’ve ever heard!
Meet Malaysian a capella group, Colour of Voices who decided to give classic Chinese New Year songs a truly modern twist with their amazing a capella medley. The group is one of the first music groups to give CNY songs an a capella treatment, thanks to the influence of “Pitch Perfect” and famous a capella group, Pentatonix.
Made up of five guys who are not very fluent in Mandarin Chinese language except for two members – Jeffery who is a Chinese himself and Jaswan who had previously learned the language, this was the group’s first attempt at a full Chinese language song. Days after posting the video on social media, it went viral and immediately catapulted the group into mainstream media attention.
After their first attempt, the group decided to experience with something slightly different from their first medley by creating another CNY medley – but this time in Cantonese Chinese language.
Multi-talented singer-songwriter and filmmaker Namewee has released a couple of Chinese New Year songs over the course of his music career, but the one that stands out the most is definitely his 2010 CNY song featuring fellow Malaysian singer, Bao.
The song started out like every other typical Chinese New Year song with a man clad in red, singing at a wide Chinese temple featuring the sound of traditional Chinese instruments like flutes, pipes, gong, and also some silk instruments. Everything started out normal until Namewee appeared and started to ruin the tempo of the song by bringing in some rap music.
The song is famous due to the funny lyrics which resonated very much with the Malaysian. Seven years later, Namewee collaborated with Bao once again for another brand new CNY song, which features lyrics with underlying meaning that pokes fun at the Malaysian politics.
Another odd entry of CNY song is performed by online supergroup RED People, also an artiste management company founded by Namewee. Though the song is certainly different than all the other typical Chinese New Year songs, it has been heavily condemned on social media for not having CNY vibes or values.
The song is performed in EDM style featuring a mix of hip hop and disco beats, and the whole set up of the song is very much a nod to the K-Pop trend. Many media dubbed the song as the worst CNY song of the year, having four times more dislikes than likes on YouTube.
This Chinese New Year advertisement which is produced by Singapore-based instant F&B company, features Singaporean rapper BunZ. The commercial was an instant hit among Singaporeans as it accurately portrays the troubles faced by modern Singaporeans during Chinese New Year, while at the same time, highlighting the importance of family bonding and love.
The commercial receives a lot of praises for its humorous lyrics which is a mash of English, Mandarin Chinese and Hokkien languages, and the song is presented in rap music. However, several users also commented that the song has similar format to Namewee’s 2010 CNY song, though the focus and message of both songs are utterly different.
Chinese-American duo The Fung Brothers breaks tradition for being the first to sing a Chinese New Year song in English – and they did it with swag! Featuring rapper Jason Chu, brothers Andrew and David ring in the New Year with a hip hop track, explaining what the holiday is all about.
Directed by Jon Liu Pierce, the song sings about the various cultural traditions that are practiced during Chinese New Year, such as wearing red, giving away red envelopes, lion dance and having reunion dinner.