19: “歲月如歌”/”兄妹” an Eason song where I can switch languages and still sing along

There is a lot of melodic borrowing in Asian music, especially across Chinese lines. There are groups like EXO-K/EXO-M that are produced by the same entertainment company, singing sing the “same” songs in Mandarin and Korean, and sometimes even in English. The tradition is an old one, and dates back to shared cultural roots or influences.

Most modern Chinese acts sing in several dialects, primarily Mandarin for the Mainland/Taiwanese audience, Cantonese for the audiences from Hong Kong, and Taiwanese for Taiwan. Most of the time, the lyrics are rewritten to a different language, but due to the differences in tonality, idiom, and usage, the lyrics are not translated directly. This means a song can start that you think you know but which might catch you up for a loop when the singer starts singing in another language.

You can see in the video above the Mandarin and Cantonese lyrics for the tracks for karaoke. Some of the characters coincide in the lyrics (Cantonese and Mandarin can use the same character system) but overall the characters are different for both languages because they’ve been completely rewritten to suit the needs of that language.

Over the years I have heard this song in both the Mandarin and Cantonese versions so often that even though I don’t speak Cantonese I know the words by heart. I wouldn’t go so far as to say I could karaoke them (reading is still difficult for me) but I know both versions of this song equally well.

Cantonese version:

Mandarin version: