A Song for the Spring Goddess Sahohime

by on Friday, 25 February 2011 8298 hits Comments
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If one were to imagine someone's life as the changing seasons, the aboriginal Tsou tribe musician, Gao Yisheng, could be said to have missed out on the plentitude of summer's harvest and skipped straight into the bleakness of autumn and winter.

Spring is the start of every year, full of hope and possibility, and at the same time the air is filled also with foreboding at the prospect of change.

Gao Yisheng composed the lyrics to the song Spring's goddess, Sahohime in the Qingdao East Road Detention Centre, the lyrics of which attest to the air of uncertainty surrounding that era. eRenlai invited Gai Yisheng's son, Gao Yingjie to sing one of the songs his father wrote. Watch the video here and read the complete lyrics below:

Gao Yisheng (1908-1954) was a prolific campaigner for aboriginal autonomy as well as a talented musician. He was arrested on disputed charges of corruption by the KMT . He was imprisoned and finally executed on 9th September 1954.

For readers in Mainland China, watch it here.

Sahohime is a spring deity. Gao Yisheng's wife's name also contained the character for spring, this endows the with an undercurrent of emotion. The way he calls his wife's name from dawn to dusk, and then on to the forests of his homeland, perhaps was a way of praying for her protection, and also betrays the writer's feelings of impotence and sorrow - no matter how much he calls her, his wife remains far away from him.

Spring's Goddess, Sahohime

誰が呼びます 深山の森で     Who is that calling from the depths of the forest hills?
靜かな夜明けに                   In the tranquility of dawn
銀の鈴のような                    With a voice as beautiful as a silver bell
麗しい聲で誰を呼ぶのだよ   Who can they be calling for?
ああさほ姬よ                       Ah! It is for Sahohime
春のさほ姬よ                      The goddess of spring

誰が呼びます 深山の森で   Who is that calling from the depths of the forest hills?
淋しい夜ふけに                  In the lonely dusk
銀の鈴のような                  With a voice as beautiful as a silver bell
麗しい聲が 森に響き渡り    Which passes through the forest
ああさほ姬よ 啊!              Ah! It's Sahohime
春のさほ姬よ                    The goddess of the spring

誰が呼んでる 深山の奧で      Who is that calling from the heart of the mountains?
故里の森の 奧の彼方から   The forests of my hometown, that place so far away
麗しい聲が 誰が呼んでいる   In a beautiful voice someone is calling
ああさほ姬よ                        Ah! Sahohime
春のさほ姬よ                       The goddess of spring

 

Article adapted and translated from the Chinese by Conor Stuart.
Interview by Joyce Lin and Raining (Chen Yu-chun), filmed and subtitled by Conor Stuart

 

 

 

Last modified on Thursday, 30 October 2014 15:45
Raining (陳雨君)

人籟論辨月刊前編輯
Ex-editor of Renlai Monthly

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