Cui Jian's Greenhouse Girl (花房姑娘)

Last year, I took part in the Chinese Bridge competition, which is a Chinese Proficiency competition for foreigners. My Chinese was a bit bad back then, but part of the competition included a "culture" section. You could do anything Chinese really. Sing a song, say a poem, tell a story, do calligraphy or dancing whatever. I decided early on I'd sing a song.

I didn't know any Chinese songs back then, so I Googled quite a lot to find a suitable song. I was looking for a nice acoustic tune so that I could play it on guitar. I then found 崔健's 花房姑娘. Translated as Greenhouse Girl, I immediately fell in love with this song. I got the tabs for the song and furiously went to learning it.

It took me quite some time to get the lyrics memorized, which I did completely wrong by the way. I learned the syllables and not what the lyrics actually meant. Which meant that I got extremely frustrated in learning the song. Nevertheless I managed to learn most of the lines before the competition. Along with my guitar I did a solid performance. Although my speech and test (other parts of the competition) didn't go so well, I didn't win anything. But that is fine with me, I had a wonderful time and learned a brilliant song.

Little did I know that a year later my girlfriend would come to me saying that they are learning a song in Chinese (she just finished her first year in Chinese, same University). I was intrigued and she said something about a girl and flowers. My instincts proved right when I looked at the lyrics. This song has now become a song that embodies my Chinese learning experience and something that I share with my girlfriend. Incidentally her Chinese name is 白花 and her real life name is Saffron. She is indeed my 花房姑娘.

I keep listening to this song, even though I haven't listened to much other songs of 崔健. 一无所有 is also another great song of his. I'm going to try and learn to play 花房姑娘 again and maybe I'll upload a cover song (翻唱) on Youtube. Here are the lyrics and a Youtube video of a live performance. Enjoy!

崔健 - 花房姑娘

我独自走过你身旁,并没有话要对你讲, 我不敢抬头看着你的,噢......脸庞. 你问我要去向何方,我指着大海的方向, 你的惊奇像是给我,噢......赞扬.

你带我走进你的花房,我无法逃脱花的迷香, 我不知不觉忘记了,噢......方向, 你说我世上最坚强,我说你世上最善良, 你不知不觉已和花儿,噢......一样

你要我留在这地方,你要我和它们一样, 我看着你默默地说,噢......不能这样, 我想要回到老地方,我想要走在老路上, 我明知我已离不开你!噢......姑娘! 我就要回到老地方,我就要走在老路上, 我明知我已离不开你!噢......姑娘

wǒ dúzì zǒu guò nǐ shēn páng, bìng méiyǒu huà yào duì nǐ jiǎng,
wǒ bù gǎn táitóu kàn zhe nǐ de, o ......liǎn páng.
nǐ wèn wǒ yào qù xiàng héfāng, wǒ zhǐzháodàhǎi de fāngxiàng,
nǐ de jīngqí xiàng shì gěi wǒ, o ......zànyáng.

nǐ dài wǒ zǒujìn nǐ de huāfáng, wǒ wúfǎ táotuō huā de mí xiāng,
wǒ bùzhībùjué wàng jì le, o ......fāngxiàng,
nǐ shuō wǒ shìshàng zuì jiānqiáng, wǒ shuō nǐ shìshàng zuì shànliáng,
nǐ bùzhībùjué yǐ hé huār, o ......yīyàng.

nǐ yào wǒ liú zài zhè dìfang, nǐ yào wǒ hé tāmen yīyàng,
wǒ kàn zhe nǐ mòmò de shuō, o ...... bù néng zhèyàng,
wǒ xiǎng yào huídào lǎo dìfang, wǒ xiǎng yào zǒu zài lǎo lùshang,
wǒ míngzhī wǒ yǐ líbùkāi nǐ! o ...... gūniang!
wǒ jiù yào huídào lǎo dìfang, wǒ jiù yào zǒu zài lǎo lùshang,
wǒ míngzhī wǒ yǐ líbùkāi nǐ! o ...... gūniang!

Alone I walk past you
But have nothing to say
I dare not raise my head to look at your
(oh!) Face You ask me where I'm heading
I point to the ocean
Your surprise seems to give me
(oh!) Praise You ask me where I'm heading
I point to the ocean

You lead me into your greenhouse
I am intoxicated by the fragrance
And without realizing it I forget my
(oh!) Destination You say that I am the strongest in the world
I say you are the kindest in the world
And gradually the flower and I become
(oh!) One You say that I am the strongest in the world
I say you are the kindest in the world

You want me to stay here
You want me to be like them
I look at you and silently say that's
(oh!) Impossible I wish I could return to that old place
I wish I could walk down that old road
But only then do I realize I can't leave you
(oh!) Girl I will return to that old place
I will walk down that old road
Even though I'm sure I can't leave you
(oh!) Girl