Disco-polo and a Polish transcription of Mandarin
In one of the most important Polish newspapers, Gazeta Wyborcza, I encountered an article about the introduction of disco-polo to the Chinese music market. In case you don’t know what disco-polo is (and I’m pretty sure you don’t, unless you are from Poland), check out this Wikipedia entry. Basically, it’s a music genre that had its golden age in the ’90s and that some Poles adore, but for others it’s a synonym for bad taste, kitsch and “redneckedness” (most of the bands originated from small villages where they played at weddings etc.).
I have absolutely no idea why someone would try to sell this kind of music in China. And while in Poland it is (or, hopefully, used to be) popular mostly in rural areas and among less-educated people, the Chinese target is “between 25 and 40 years old, higher education, big city resident, high professional and social position, incomes much higher than average”. At least that’s what the producer says.
In autumn a disco-polo band BayerFull (in Polish bajer is a slang word meaning gimmick or sweet talk) is going on a tour in China. Its leader says “We’re entering the Chinese market professionally. Everything is arranged legally. We’ve had our Chinese costumes tailored, our dragons are ready. Our image is going to get people interested. But we’re not deceiving ourselves, we know we’re going to be treated as an oddity.”
And finally comes the language part:
“For a month I’ve been cramming the lyrics in Chinese. Slower pieces like Wszyscy Polacy (All the Poles) or Wiatr miłości (Wind of love) go easily. Problems appear when it comes to those livelier ones like Majteczki w kropeczki (Dotted panties). By the way, we had to rename it to Red panties in the Chinese version.”
Check out this transcription (it’s Majteczki w kropeczki):
In the online edition of the newspaper it looks like this:
“Wo liu sui desh~hou ,
daole shangxué de niánl~ng.
Xiao Ma lái ka lái xiang wo gaobié skuo:
Ni yao l~kai wo ya,
weishénme hui zheyang?”.
Obviously, these are just encoding problems.
You can listen to the song in Polish with the chorus in what is supposed to be Chinese here.
Of course, I saved the best for last.
Below is an amateur “phonetic transcription from which BayerFull learns the lyrics”. The title of this song was originally Wszyscy Polacy to jedna rodzina – All the Poles are one family, but in the Chinese version it’s Polak i Chińczyk to jedna rodzina – A Pole and a Chinese are one family.
The task is to decipher this “phonetic transcription”. Try to transcribe it into hanzi or pinyin and translate into English, if you like. If it turns out too difficult, I can translate the Polish lyrics into English to help you
(I don’t know if you can see the character ł clearly, it looks almost like l, these are the words in which it appears: Czungłożen, toł, siałohaj, tiaułu, hłansiau, czenszłej, cułomeng. You’ll have to learn something about Polish phonology to solve this problem.)