[NOTE: This is re-posted with permission from The Problematic of the Unproblematic where it was first posted. Joyce is an admin for Wang Kai International. Make sure to check out all her awesome song analyses for the Nirvana in Fire OSTs on The Problematic of the Unproblematic]
The Third Song 第三首歌
《赤血长殷》 – “Loyal Blood Runs Forever Red” is an allegorical memorial song for the novel 《琅琊榜》- The Langya List, which is the original novel on which the drama “Nirvana in Fire” was based. It is a story-retell (剧情歌) song which narrates the life of Mei Changsu and the Chiyan army.
The song was written and produced by fans of the novel and published on April 26th 2014. It became very popular amongst the novel’s fan base. During the filming of “Nirvana in Fire” the production team held a competition to find songs for the drama. The collection period lasted for a month during which almost 1000 songs were received. “Loyal Blood Runs Forever Red” was eventually chosen after being highly recommended by the fan community.
Two versions of the song made and published – a song only version and one in which parts of the novel was narrated and interspersed throughout the song. The full dialogues in the story interspersed version can be found on Baidu Baike.
The eventual version of “Loyal Blood Runs Forever Red” that was used in the drama actually differed very little from the original fan version. The melody and lyrics remained unchanged. However the accompanying music was more fleshed out and full bodied and Wang Kai was given the honor of singing this version.
Notes Made when Translating: Loyal Blood Runs Forever Red 翻译《赤血长殷》的笔记
Title: 赤血长殷 Loyal Blood Runs Forever Red
Lyrics: 冰封江湖殇 Bing Feng Jianghu Shang
清彦 Qing Yan
Composition: 阿濑耶识 Ah Lai Ye Shi
Singers Original Fan Version:
五色石南叶 Wu Se Shinan Ye
Smile_小千 Smile_Xiao Qian
慕寒 Mu Han
Singer Official Drama Version: 王凯 Wang Kai
The word 赤血 (chì xuě) in the title of the song means literally means ‘crimson blood’, but if you took that meaning you’ll end up with a rather repetitive title – crimson blood runs forever red XD. The 赤血 is actually part of the phrase 赤血丹心 (chì xuě dān xīn) literally “crimson blood scarlet heart” which means “a heart of pure loyalty”.
The first section of the song is the 承章 (chéng zhāng) – presentation chapter.
We oft lament about the passing of time by comparing the changes in people to the stasis of things unchanged. Those thing remain the same over the years, but people do not. The first line of the song brings to mind the scene from the first episode where Mei Changsu returns to the Capital, Jinling City after 12 years in exile. The grey bricks and black tiles of the city wall, the hustle and bustle of the city is still the same, but the people in it are no longer the same.
Lit: Grey bricks and black tiles, the scenery is still the same.
Lyrical: The scenery has remained the same
Lit: nature (grass and trees) has no feelings and does not understand mortal worries.
Lyrical: though nature has mercilessly left its mark on mortal belongings.
The turmoil in the past struck without warning leaving nothing much except painful memories. Paying respect to the departed can only provide for momentary relief. We cannot force those who’ve passed but those who remain should not forget.
Lit: At the time the flames of war came suddenly, burning everything leaving how much behind?
Lyrical: The flames of war left little behind.
Lit: In funeral attire to pay respect to the departed and old feelings rest for now.
Lyrical: In funeral attire, he pays respect to those who have left.
Lit: A clear moon and light breeze, he who ranks first on the Langya list.
Lyrical: A light breeze blows, and he who ranks first on the Langya List is seen under the clear moon.
Lit: Who still remembers the yesteryear, riding horses unbridledly.
Lyrical: Who still remembers the carefree years of the past?
For those who still care no matter how many years have passed will always remember unerringly or unavoidably. We get a glimpse of the causes of the change, the burdens that rest on his shoulders.
Lit: A decade passes in an instance but how many times has the soul wandered to the past in dreams.
Lyrical: A decade passes in an instant, yet he constantly wanders back into the past.
Lit: How many wronged souls did it take to weave that simple robe?
Lyrical: How many wrongful deaths did it take to turn the soldier into a scholar?
缓带轻裘 (huàn dài qīng qíu), chengyu, it literally means “a wide loose belt and light fur coat”. The phrase is derived from a description of Yang Hu in 《羊祜列传》“The Biography of Yang Hu” which is collected in《晋书》“Book of Jin”. Yang Hu (221-278) was a General in the Western Jin period. He often wore light fur coats with a wide belt in the barracks and held himself in a leisurely, elegant and refined manner without the airs of a martial man and seemed more like a scholar. So the phrase became a byword for “a scholar with a leisurely and refined air”.
We come to a turning point in the story where we see a sudden change in the world after the arrival of Mei Changsu. In a power struggle there is schemes and tricks that just a fact of life as is has always been.
Lit: Tricking, out witting each other without reason
Lyrical: A world of unexplained deceit
Lit: It’s but called “winners be kings losers be bandits”
Lyrical: has led to the victors reigning supreme.
I do not swindle you, you do not deceive me.
which came from the book《左传》”Commentary of Zuo” and was later turned into a chengyu used to mean people suspecting and deceiving each other.
Lit: on this turbulent road he walks alone
Lyrical: He walks alone on this turbulent path,
Lit: leaving behind all feelings of happiness and grief
Lyrical: and leaves behind all mortal emotions.
|We can keep trying to fool ourselves but that never works.|
Lit: Once the dust has settle, looking back while holding the reigns
Lyrical: Looking back after everything has settled,
Lit: All the things in the past are branded in the heart.
Lyrial: the past is forever imprinted in his mind.
Lit: A subtle fragrance and the whole world is taken in with a glance.
Lyrical: The fragrance imbues the world that is taken in with a glance.
|A peaceful scene that was preserved|
Lit: Scarlet walls an endless Palace, peoples’ hearts hard to decipher
Lyrical: People’s motives are hidden deep within palace walls.
Lit: Black and white crisscross the world, killing needs no reason.
Lyrical: In a game of chess, killing needs no reason.
The lyrics used the word 难嗅 (nán xìu) which literally means “hard to sniff out” to mean hard to decipher.
The next line made use of an interesting metaphor in the phrase 黑白纵横 (heī bái zòng héng) which literally means “black and white crisscrossing”. ‘Black and white’ can refer to people in the ‘criminal world’ – 黑道 (heī dào) literally ‘black road’, and people who are not – 白道 (bái dào) literally ‘white road’. And these people are literally running amok – crisscrossing with world, a lawless world.
However the better interpretation of this should be that it’s referring to the game of weiqi (or Go as it’s known in English) – not actually chess. Some legends trace the game of weiqi (围棋) literally the ‘encircling board game’ to the mythical Chinese Emperor Yao (尧) (2337–2258 BC), who was said to have asked his councilor Shun (舜) (who also later became Emperor) to create a game to help reign in his playboy of a son Danzhu (丹朱). Current concrete records trace the game to have originated at some point during the Zhou Dynasty (1046 – 256 BC) and has been played ever since till even today.
|Who me? Lol that’ll never work.|
Lit: Powers and failures change even as we converse, brilliant stratagems hidden in his sleeves.
Lyrical: The power balance changes in an instant with the use of brilliant ideas hidden up his sleeve.
Lit: Easily you calculate everything below heaven, you should be toasted with a drink
Lyrical: After calculating everything that could happen, he should congratulate himself with a drink.
|I will toast you with tea instead of wine|
Lit: With a sickly body, he plans ahead
With his ailing body, he plans ahead,
Lit: the stratagems in his heart, how many can see through
Lyrical: and few could decipher his schemes.
未雨绸缪 (weì yǔ chóu móu), chengyu, literally “tie down the doors and windows tightly before the rain comes” and is used to mean prepare things beforehand. The phrase was derived from a verse in the song 《鸱鸮》 (chī xiāo) – “Owl” collected in the book《诗经》- “Book of Songs”.
Lit: Even if he cannot live forever, he did not disappoint his wishes in this life
Lyrical: Though he could live no longer, no regrets were left behind.
Lit: In this departure he’ll pass through thousands of trials, bidding farewell to this world
Lyrical: He bids farewell to the past as he departs for the dangerous journey ahead.
关山千重 (guān shān qiān chóng) – literally “thousands of (layers) of borders”. 关山(guān shān) I mentioned before in the last post, it basically mean border passes or just passes. Here, 关山 is figuratively used to describe trials and battles that must be fought – since to get through these passes sometimes you need to fight it out.
For the second part of this line of lyrics, before reading the actual lyrics I thought the song said “将前程挥袖”. Note the one character difference: 程 (chéng) and 尘 (chén). However 前程 (qián chéng) means “the future” where as 前尘 (qián chén) means “the past and now”. 程 (chéng) means section of road, so 前程 is literally “the road ahead” and hence the future. 尘 (chén) is “dust”, so 前尘 is literally “the dust before you”. This is a Buddhist term which refers to the world that people sees as a mirage that is generated from people’s delusions. It was later used to mean the things that were experienced in the past.
|They say that promises last for 3 life times|
Lit: Bloody tears write the thousand memorials, singing all the songs of grief
Lyrical: A thousand memorials made from bloody tears lamented the sacrifices.
Lit: The bones of war may all shatter but their will shall never rest.
Lyrical: The soldiers may perish but their aspirations will never falter.
Lit: Waiting for the Chiyan to return, to re-organize the troops and start anew
Lyrical: Wait for the return and re-organisation of the Chiyan Army,
Lit: and protect our Kingdom as before
Lyrical: who will continue to protect our kingdom.
|Forged from the flames of the Scarlet Flame (Chiyan) Army|
Lit: The grief of separation is traded away for spears
Lyrical: Grief was traded with spears,
Lit: Using all the rest of his life, an upright spirit shall guard along with you
Lyrical: and he spent the rest of his life upholding righteous values.
Lit: This blood is still red (loyal), this chivalry has not been stowed
Lyrical: The blood still flows, and the vigor of a soldier has not been buried.
Lit: friendship and brotherhood eternal
Lyrical: Brotherhood and friendship
Lit: will remain in the snows of Plum Blossom ridge forever
Lyrical: will remain in the snow covered plum blossom ridge forever.