an evening of clas­sics

Thirty years since mak­ing waves with the soar­ing theme song The Bund, Frances Yip re­mains the con­sum­mate per­former that she is.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - ENVIRONMENT - By CHEW WAN YING

Hong Kong songstress Frances Yip show­cased her big voice at her re­cent char­ity con­cert in Malaysia.

IN these two years, we have been through a lot. The only con­stant is change,” said Hong Kong Can­topop star Frances Yip be­fore sing­ing Gah Bin (A House Is Not A Home), the TV theme song made fa­mous by Ro­man Tam in 1977, at her con­cert in Kuala Lumpur last Fri­day.

One thing that re­mains un­changed is how pop­u­lar her epic hit The Bund is. It is said that the tune, one of the few Can­tonese songs that is as en­dur­ing and uni­ver­sally en­joyed as Teresa Teng’s mu­sic, can be heard wher­ever there are Chi­nese.

The theme song of the 1980 TVB se­ries of the same ti­tle – star­ring Chow Yun-fat as a gang­ster in 1930s Shang­hai – pro­pelled the big-voiced Yip into a house­hold name be­yond the Chi­nese-speak­ing re­gion. Even among non-Chi­nese mu­sic lis­ten­ers, many are able to hum a verse or two of the song, one of the most cov­ered Can­topop hits.

This was proven once again at A Pink Char­ity Evening With Frances Yip And The Or­ches­tra, a con­cert held in con­junc­tion with Es­tee Lauder Com­pa­nies’ breast can­cer aware­ness cam­paign this year at the Ple­nary Hall of Kuala Lumpur Con­ven­tion Cen­tre.

The Bund re­mained the keenly an­tic­i­pated num­ber among the 3,000-strong au­di­ence that evening. When the 32-piece or­ches­tra played the fa­mil­iar in­tro, the full house erupted into thun­der­ous ap­plause.

Al­though it was just part of the medley of theme songs of The Bund tril­ogy, the crowd lapped it up and nearly ev­ery­body, in­clud­ing some Malay au­di­ences, sang along to the cho­rus.

“Back in the 1980s, I was ar­riv­ing in Malaysia. A fe­male im­mi­gra­tion of­fi­cer took a look at my pass­port and went ‘ Long ban, long lau’ (the first few verses of the song about rolling waves) ...” re­called the vet­eran chanteuse at the con­cert.

The suc­cess of The Bund has spawned var­i­ous ver­sions, in­clud­ing in Viet­namese and Thai.

Yip cheek­ily launched into a few verses from the Thai ver­sion, to fans’ sur­prise and de­light.

“What can I say? With­out the song, I’d never have the chance to stand here and sing to you,” said the ap­par­ently moved songstress, be­fore she belted out the iconic num­ber.

Of course, with a sing­ing ca­reer that has spanned 41 years, Yip, who cel­e­brated her 63rd birth­day two weeks ago, has a vast reper­toire that cov­ers more than just TV theme songs.

“I love to sing. I started sing­ing when I was very young and I can’t re­mem­ber a day since with­out sing­ing,” she said at the be­gin­ning of the show.

Look­ing ra­di­ant in a pink se­quined oneshoul­der gown, the star switched ef­fort­lessly be­tween lan­guages.

Yip also flaunted her vo­cal range in Man­darin gems like the melan­choly Bu Liao Qing (Love With­out End) and a string of beau­ti­ful tunes penned by Joseph Koo, one of Hong Kong’s most pro­lific com­posers. Oth­ers in­cluded Zuo Ye Meng Hun Zhong (Dream­ing Of You) and Ai Ni Bian Cheng Hai Ni (Lov­ing You Is Hat­ing You).

She also per­formed a num­ber of for­eign­lan­guage songs she cov­ered back in the 1970s, such as the Filipino love song Dahil Sa Iyo as well as Malay num­bers Widuri and Oh Di Mana.

-Equally en­chant­ing was her emo­tion­packed de­liv­ery of English clas­sics, in­clud­ing Judy Gar­land’s Over The Rain­bow and With One Look, the An­drew Lloyd Web­ber com­po­si­tion from the mu­si­cal Sun­set Boule­vard.

In be­tween songs, the per­son­able singer shared anec­dotes about her­self, in­clud­ing one about a young fe­male singer who had asked to be pho­tographed with her.

“I was de­lighted to have a fan as young as her. Next, she said, ‘ Great! This is for my grandma!’” she re­lated to great laugh­ter. Yip told more than just light-hearted jokes. As a breast can­cer sur­vivor, she re­counted her ex­pe­ri­ence of be­ing di­ag­nosed with stage one of the dis­ease in 1996.

“It was very scary at the time,” she said, adding that it was for­tu­nate that the can­cer was de­tected early and she did not have to lose a breast in the course of treat­ment.

She has re­mained can­cer-free for the past 14 years.

“It’s im­por­tant to do reg­u­lar self­ex­am­i­na­tion. Seek med­i­cal help if you de­tect any­thing in your breasts. Breast can­cer is not a death sen­tence,” she re­it­er­ated.

Near the end of the two-hour show, Yip ded­i­cated Richard Marx’s Now And For­ever to her Bri­tish hus­band of 29 years, David Lo­max, who was among the au­di­ence. As a ges­ture of love to her soul mate and man­ager, she changed the lyrics “I will be your man” to “you will be my man”.

A to­tal of RM550,000 was raised from the event, which will be chan­nelled to four breast can­cer re­search and treat­ment or­gan­i­sa­tions, namely Breast Can­cer Wel­fare As­so­ci­a­tion, Col­lege Of Ra­di­ol­ogy Malaysia, Na­tional Can­cer So­ci­ety Malaysia and Can­cer Re­search Ini­tia­tives Foun­da­tion.

Pow­er­house vo­cals: Hong Kong songstress Frances Yip wowed a full-house crowd at her char­ity con­cert, APink Char­i­tyEven­ingWithFrancesYipAndTheOrches­tra, held at the Ple­nary Hall of Kuala Lumpur Con­ven­tion Cen­tre.

Yip, a breast can­cer sur­vivor, shared anec­dotes about her­self dur­ing the show.

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