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Culture

Yin: Kangding Love Song, the Chinese Classic that Appears in ‘Daredevil’

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This week’s song is sung by Stephanie Chou and Octavia Romano, but we really could’ve chosen any of several versions (e.g., here’s one with Placido Domingo). That’s because “Kangding Love Song” is one of China’s most well-known and beloved tunes, originating from Kangding, Sichuan province, inspired by the daily life of the people there.

UNESCO and NASA have both recognized the song as one of the world’s 10 best folk songs. But if you know nothing about Chinese culture, there’s a good chance you’ve heard this before — it was given significant play in the first season of Marvel’s Daredevil, in one of Episode 5’s memorable fight scenes:

Lyrics:

High upon the mountain side, floats a cloud so white
There lies Kangding town, bathed in silver moonlight
Moonlight shines bright, over Kangding town

Lovely maiden with a sweet smile, Li the woodcutter’s daughter
Zhang the blacksmith’s eldest’s son, came to court her in moonlight
Moonlight shines bright, a courtship in moonlight

First, he has fallen in love because she is talented and good-looking
Second, he has fallen in love because she can take care of the family
The crescent moon, can take care of the family!

Lovely maidens of the world, I cannot but love you
Gentlemen of the world, they cannot but woo you
Moonlight shines bright, they cannot but woo you

Yin (, “music”) is a weekly Radii feature that looks at Chinese songs spanning classical to folk to modern experimental, and everything in between. Drop us a line if you have a suggestion: [email protected].

Anthony Tao
Anthony Tao is a writer and editor in Beijing. You can read his published poems and other stories on anthonytao.com. He was Radii’s first editor-in-chief.

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