Wang Li wrote, "'Little Swallow' is a children's song originally in a film called 'A Nurse's Diary' and has been very popular in China for about half a century."

小燕子 - Chinese Children's Songs - China - Mama Lisa's World: Children's Songs and Rhymes from Around the World  - Intro Image


Here's the Mandarin pronunciation of the 1st four lines:

xiao yan zi, chuan hua yi
nian nian chun tian lai zhe li
wo wen yan zi ni wei sha lai
yan zi shuo zhe li de chun tian zui mei li

Here is the pinyin for "Little Swallow"

Xiǎo yàn zi, chuān huā yī
nián nián chūn tiān lái zhè lǐ
wǒ wèn yàn zi nǐ wèi shá lái  
yàn zi shuō zhè lǐ de chūn tiān zuì měi lì  

Xiǎo yàn zi gào su nǐ   
jīn nián zhè lǐ gèng měi lì  
wǒ men gài qǐ le dà gōng chǎng  
zhuāng shàng le xīn jī qi  
huān yíng nǐ  
cháng qī zhù zài zhè lǐ.

Here's an alternate English translation of Little Swallow with commentary:

Cute Swallow, you're so beautiful,
Every spring you come here and soar,
"Why come back here" I ask you,
You say,"Here spring is most beautiful".

Cute Swallow, I'd like to tell you,
This year here has become more beautiful.
A large factory has been built,
Equipped with new machinery.
We welcome you to live here as long as possible.

NOTE: "This is an interlude song in a film, which was played in 1957. In 1950's, China (China Mainland, i. e. People's Republic of China) was an under-developed country. Its industry was very poor. So people felt so happy when a new factory was built. As in the lyrics, people also wanted to SHARE their happiness with the "cute swallow". (And I guess in the lyrics the NEW machinery represents the "advanced production capacity" (先进生产力). However, now, MORE factories means the MORE industrial pollution and MORE ecological damage. Nowadays, I guess if someplace has newly built a factory, no swallow will want to come there. So it seems that it is a little harder for people to understand the second paragraph of the lyrics at present." -Princess Serenity


Emily wrote: "I found this video that works great and has the lyrics printed in Chinese."

Here you can see it performed:
Please let us know if you think this video has been taken down by YouTube.

Sheet Music

Sheet Music - 小燕子

Thanks and Acknowledgements

Many thanks to Wang Li for contributing and translating this song, for providing the Chinese sheet music and mp3. Thanks to Princess Serenity for the 2nd translation and for the interesting commentary on the song.

Thanks also to Monique Palomares for the staff sheet music and the midi tune.

M goi! & Xie xie!