The Red Songs, tracing back to China’s revolutionary era in the early 20th century, are a group of patriotic songs with heavy tradition. Scored with modern music style and composed with inspiring lyrics, the songs usually pay high compliment to China’s efforts in making itself an independent and prosperous country.
Most of the Red Songs were made to commemorate the development of the Communist Party of China. Songs like "Seeing off the Red Army Ten Times" and "The Red Army Is Not Afraid That the Expedition Is Difficult" are composed based on the nascent stage for the CPC when it was purged fromKuomintang and launched a "Long March" to build its own revolutionary bases. The famous "the March of the Volunteers" (which later became the national anthem), "On Songhua River" and "Defend the Yellow River" were composed during the anti-Japanese Aggression War (1937-1945).
When decades of wars ceased and the People’s Republic of China was founded, Red Songs, such as "The East Is Red" and "Without the Communist Party, There Would Be No New China", dominated the country. When ideological confrontation surfaced between east and west during the latter half of the 20th century, Chinese people weren’t able to hum pop songs like the youngsters today. Instead, they chorused the Red Songs.
After the country’s reform, pop music poured in. With Teresa Teng’s sweet sound and Faye Wong’s high-pitched voice, a new generation was born. Now Red Songs are engulfed by the smash hits from pop icons like Andy Lau, Jacky Cheung and Wakin Chau. Music options multiply quickly, and Red Songs are no longer a dominant part of people’s lives, especially among the youth.
However, recently, the patriotic songs have been returning to the center of people’s life as schools, companies and institutions organize choruses of the reminiscent songs. Old and young musicians are creating new songs to express their patriotic mood and eulogize the great achievements of the country in recent years. The art form, starting in Chongqing Municipality, is a new chic to celebrate the upcoming 90th anniversary of the CPC. The unique celebration has also attracted overseas reporters toBeijing who rush to parks to record the spontaneous Red Song performances of the locals.