It is hard to believe that six months have passed since we first discovered music from Chinese-Canadian folk artist Tennyson King, whose single, “Garden Of Truth,” earned several spins here as we became acquainted with his breezy, yet unique post-apocalyptic interpretation of the genre. Born in Hong Kong, and now calling Toronto, ON home, Tennyson shared his latest single just yesterday, the release timed purposely to coincide with the month of May also representing Asian Heritage Month.
While Team GDW always prefer to focus on the music rather than politics, unless you have lived under a rock for the last year or so, you can’t fail to be aware of the increased anti-Asian sentiments across the North American continent, and not just here in the US, but north of our border too. It has taken new legislation to address such issues here in the US, to deal with the overwhelming number of hate crimes and attacks on our Asian-American friends, neighbors, and communities. In response, Tennyson has decided to share more of his Chinese heritage through his music, with this single being his first indie folk single performed in his native language.
Tennyson wrote “Sheng Ming De Jin Du” in English during time spent exploring and enjoying the Australian outback, finding inspiration for his lyrics as he embraced the unknown, sleeping under the stars and consuming the vast, wide-open spaces constantly around him. But with the continuous attacks and discrimination directed towards his community at large, Tennyson remained positive, composed, and sought instead to re-discover his roots, embrace his heritage, and strengthen his own bond and belonging to his community. And with this self-reflection came the desire to re-work the single, and to not only translate, but to perform it in Mandarin too. Under the guidance of Chinese indie-rocker, Hover Chan (Golden Cage), the single was not only reborn, but renamed too: “生命的进度.”
While I admit to having zero fluency in Mandarin, I must express for all of my fellow native English speakers out there, do not miss out on this positive, upbeat offering from Tennyson. With the constant exposure to the negativity found in the news outlets, do yourself a favor and take time to enjoy this tune, to embrace the wonderful ringing guitars and keys, and most importantly, to discover firsthand just how gorgeous Tennyson’s native language truly is. Highly recommended listening.