Jen Shyu

Nov. 27th song list & translations


Song 1:  육자배기 ("Yuk Ja Bae Gi”)
Performed on gayageum and vocals by Jen Shyu
Namdo Minyo (Namdo folk song from Korea - Rough translation by Cha Seungmin 차승민, Park Yuny박연희, & Jen Shyu; as master pansori and folk singer Kim Su Yeon 김수연 (hear her original version
HERE!) taught to Jen’s Pansori teacher, Kwon Songhee 권송희

O, mountain, mountain indeed 

One hundred plants I can plant around me, but bamboo will not take root  

To live or leave...

The bamboo flute cries

Longing, flying 

How come?

You are leaving, crying and longing

The bamboo will not take root

What shall I do?


Song 2: Bawa Sida Asih, Macapat Dhandhangula
Arranged and performed on gayageum and vocals by Jen Shyu
Lyrics by Ki Narto Sabdho, Translation by Slamet Gundono, Endang Tri Winarni, & Jen Shyu

My hope, my beloved

Is that we are always in harmony and unity

At every moment, day or night

Never apart, not even one hair’s width

Though far, you are close in my heart

When you’re near, you’re always my focus

Loving each other for all time

Like two fish swimming side by side

Let us carry out life’s obligations together

Settling down to love each other  

(Full recording at,  Track 7 – Pre-recorded audio heard: Jawa, Indonesia, 2012: Javanese singer [Pesindhen] and teacher: Nyi Ngatirah. Gendèr: Pak Sutanto. Song: “Ladrang Wilujeng Laras Slendro Pathet Manyura”)

Song 3: “Para Pembakar Ombak (Burning the Waves)”
Composed and performed on Taiwanese moon lute and vocals by Jen Shyu, poetry & translation by Dorothea Rosa Herliany

When the horizon turned to rain / the twilight quivered, / the soul's borders / were like vague oceans, / fortunately the boat had a twin / noah and a million faded histories / following the sun's footsteps / from the head of the river / to the sea, / the man came from deep inside the well, / smashed to pieces by limitless longing, / walking in steps which cross the whole day / following a lonely path / why don't you go home, woman, / endlessly walking carrying longing, friend, / shedding the smell of tears / sorrowful grief at the edge of the garden / perhaps she is searching for the heaven / god faithfully places / in the innermost recesses / of the believer's heart / at the body's edge / painful wounds sing / distant like the melody / we hear from the stern / we are tired / father curses us / and we choose to be silent, / as silent / as our memories...

(Full recording at, Track 5)

Song 4: “5-Hole Tune”

The first hardship is the ax and the knife / The second hardship is the basket and the rope / Poor father and poor mother / Going up the mountain and down the mountain – there’s nothing we can do 

The first worry is the home/family being poor / The second worry is that the child is still young / The third worry is becoming old and unable to work / To face others day to day is so very difficult 

Full version at
Inner Chapters, track released August 17, 2010 
Jen Shyu, vocals & moon lute; “Five-Hole Tune”, Taiwanese folk song from Hengchun, taught by Chen Ying 陳英