Celestial River

Celestial River《銀河》- Lan Tung (2015), lyrics by Qin, Shaoyou(1049—1100 AD)& Fan, Yun (451-503 AD)

– voice, cello, percussion (2015)
– voice, zheng, percussion (2016)

Lan Tung sets original melodies to two ancient Chinese classical poems about the Weaver Woman. A popular myth in Asia, the story of Weaver Woman and the Cowherd has inspired hundreds of poems. They are two gods/lovers represented by two constellations that move closer to each other once a year in the mid summer night. The legends said that their love is forbidden in the Heaven, and they are only allowed to meet one night every year for the eternity.

纖云弄巧,               Skillfully weaving the clouds
飛星傳恨,               Shooting stars delivering my sadness
銀漢迢迢暗度。      River in the Heaven, far away, quietly crossing
金風玉露一相逢,  Golden wind and jade dew once meet each other
便胜卻人間無數。  It is more joy than hundreds of years on earth
柔情似水,              Gentle love like water
佳期如夢,              The good times are like dreams
忍顧鵲橋歸路?      Look at the Magpie Bridge, which is the way to return to you
兩情若是久長時,  To have this kind of love that lasts for the eternity 
又豈在朝朝暮暮。  Never mind that we can not be together every moment
~ 宋代秦少游《鵲橋仙》

Set to a haunting melody, this poem expresses the deepest sorrow of the Weaver Woman, separated from her lover by the Celestial River or Milky Way. The poem made references to a number of ancient legends to express her loneliness: A bird named Jingwei 精衛 was once a little boy. One day he drowned in the ocean. His soul turned into a bird and was forever dropping stones to fill the ocean in revenue of his death. The Green Bird appeared from heaven on a mid summer night is a symbol for love in a story of the Han Wu Emperor (156-87 BC). The final sentence came from another story. A king captured a beautiful bird. Three years has passed, the bird never sang. The queen suggested to place the bird in front of a mirror, expecting it to sing when it sees a companion. The bird made the saddest cry and died.

盈盈一水邊,   Next to the shimmering water
夜夜空自憐。   Embrace my loneliness every night
不辭精衛苦,   I am not afraid of Jingwei’s hardship
河流未可填。  But the Celestial River can not be filled with stones
寸情百重结,   My heart has hundreds of knots
一心萬處懸。   A heart that is hung over ten thousand places
願作双青鳥,   I wish that we can be a pair of Green Birds
共舒明鏡前。   See our reflections in the clear mirror