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."
Little swallow, dressed colorfully,
Comes here every spring,
I asked her, "Why do you come here?"
She said, "The spring here is the most beautiful."
Little swallow, let me tell you,
It's more beautiful here this year.
We've built large factories,
And equipped new machines,
Please live here forever.
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."
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!