Sing that Feng Yang Song

“Get out!” She screamed throwing a jar full of paint brushes at me and my classmates as we entered the art room of my elementary school to retrieve something for a teacher. Mrs. Voss had always been extremely temperamental, either because half of the class forgot to bring it’s recorders to play “Hot Crust Buns” or “Breeze Blown Bag”, or because we had forgotten our lines in the 6th grade musical. (It was probably because we were didn’t show any empathy for a family member of hers that had died but that’s neither here nor there.) Yes, it was the general consensus of our elementary school that Mrs. Voss was an angry and unsavory character. But she did leave everyone of Gatewood Elementary with some unforgettable music, for better or worse, worse I guess.

The majority of music that we had to sing in elementary school really sucked, there was a song that enforced Irish stereotypes about the potato famine called, “Oh the Praties, They Grow Small”. Then there was one about singing in the hills of Norway or Sweden or some damn Scandinavian country called “Hollderiedia”. That probably isn’t spelled right but after extensive googling I couldn’t find anything about this lost song. There was another shitty swing song called, “Dancin’ On the Rooftops” that I sadly still know all the words to too but I won’t subject you all to a clip of that.

No, the one song that perhaps stuck with me the best from my time in elementary school music class under Mrs. Voss would have to be “The Feng Yang Song”. It was a weird little Chinese tune complete with erhus, bangus, banhus and yes, even a tanggu or two. I don’t know why it stuck with me the way it did, probably because at one point you got to break it down and speak gibberish/broken Chinese.

Here’s my rendition, (I’m in the glasses):

video.php?v=1087863673796&subj=1215720152

Here’s the registered Chinese version, (note how it’s in Chinese and she breaks it down a little differently/not as good)

Now there’s a tune prime for remixing. Jay-Z, I’m looking at you.

Just for shits and gigs, here’s what I can remember lyrically from the songs I mentioned above.

“Oh the Praties, They Grow Small”

Oh the praties, they grow small, over here, over here… oh the praties they grow small, over here, over here… now we’re down in the dust, it’s lord in whom we trust, we’ll repay him crumb for crust, over here, over here

“Hollderiedia”

Vegas hills are not so far, Hollderiedia! Holldeeria… we shall shout hi-sa-sa… Hollderiedia! Holldia… Holl-der-ie-dia, Hollderiedia! Holldeeria… Holl-der-ie-dia, Hollderiedia Holldia!

“Dancin’ On the Rooftops”

Man, I hate that fuckin’ song. Watch this instead.

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2 Comments

Filed under childhood, music

2 responses to “Sing that Feng Yang Song

  1. I want to make a link with your website

  2. kevin

    Was just idly looking to see if there was anything about that song on the web. It’s stuck in my head too, since elementary school (40+ years ago).

    It had an odd structure, obviously Eastern (particularly the stanza that starts “We are the vendors…”). I always wondered if it was authentically Chinese, or some sort of parody. The nonsense (?) syllables in Chinese sounded like something somebody had made up.

    There were several other “ethnic” songs we learned that today would probably be politically incorrect. How about:

    Hai cumma zimba zimba zaya
    Hai cumma zimba zimba zee
    “See him there, the Zulu warrior!
    “See him there, the Zulu chief chief chief!”

    Or:

    “We are the red men
    “Feathers in our head men
    “Down among the dead men
    “Pow-wow!”

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