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Love is a Universal Song
02 July 2018

We speak to singer-songwriter Liang Wenfu on his inspirations for the Liang Wenfu Charity Concert 2018 and the songs closest to his heart.

More than 5,000 concertgoers sang their hearts out to Liang Wenfu’s internationally-acclaimed tune, “Friendship Forever”, at the Liang Wenfu Charity Concert 2018 held on Saturday, 26 May 2018 at The Star Theatre. 

Liang Wenfu opens the “Liang Wenfu Charity Concert 2018” with a familiar favourite, Too Much Too Much.

The concert, proudly presented by the Goh Lee Hiang Memorial Fund, raised more than $1.92 million for HCA Hospice Care and three other beneficiaries: Public Free Clinic Society, Save Our Street Dogs and Voices for Animals.

We had a chat with the icon of xinyao himself, Liang Wenfu.

An amazing mash-up put together by Tian Wei Hong, Hong Wei Wen, Liang Wenfu, Hong Shao Xuan and Ye Liang Jun (from left to right) that kept everyone’s feet tapping and hands clapping

The concert was a huge success and thoughtfully planned in terms of the performances and performers lined up for the event. Share with us what went on behind the scenes that led to the show-stopping concert.

The entire production team spent more than six months conceptualising and planning the programme lineup. We worked on balancing the different considerations, including my ideas and personal style, as well as the creative team’s suggestions. For example, I personally penned the lyrics but the actual showcase of the performances was put to vote after a team discussion.

What inspired you to produce this charity concert?

I became acquainted with the Goh Lee Hiang Memorial Fund and had the opportunity to attend two charity concerts they had organised in the past. I felt it would be meaningful if music could serve as a medium to propagate the seeds of love. Later on, I found out that such charity events were eligible for matching grants from the government and I felt it could further inspire more artistes to put their talents to good use by giving back to society.

While I was considering whether to go ahead with the charity concert, my wife said, “If you don’t do it now, you might never have another opportunity in the future.”

I am glad that the concert was a success and grateful for the opportunity to work on my goals while I still had the ability to do so.

A man of many talents, Liang Wenfu also played classic tunes on the piano, to the delight of the audience

Apart from your life as a singer-performer on stage, what is a regular day like for you off stage?

I play many different roles – apart from being a musician, I am also an educator. My wife and I run a Chinese education centre together, focusing on the primary and secondary school curricula. In addition, I am also an adjunct university professor.

I read and write a lot as well. Apart from lyrics, I also pen poems, prose and novels – the written word is an integral part of my life.

What is one song that has moved you the most after all these years?

There was a song I once wrote, titled “The Sparrow and the The Bamboo Twig”. It was inspired by the first Cantonese nursery tune, “Baby Sparrow”, which I learned to sing as a child. My father would sing the song while carrying me, with my head nestled on his shoulder. Till today, singing those two songs still evoke the same warmth I felt as a child.

Which songwriter has been your inspiration from your earlier days?  

There have been many songwriters who have inspired me. I prefer the term “songwriter” to “composer”. For me, I see a difference between songwriting and composing. There must be depth to songs – it must move people, while also encapsulating literary and musical beauty.

Bob Dylan and Don McLean are great sources of inspiration when it comes to English songs. In the Chinese music sphere, I admire artistes such as Sam Hui, Lo Ta-yu and Jonathan Lee.

Did the concert turn out as you expected?

Everyone – media and members of the audience alike – all felt that the sincerity and warmth of the concert’s atmosphere illuminated the power of love. I am not a flamboyant character. My ideal charity concert encompasses the verve of warmth and accomplishes the goals of fundraising without sacrificing individual artistic objectives.

To sum it up, the charity concert was something that was different from my past concerts, but it was still distinctively “Liang Wenfu” – this fills me with contentment.

A group picture with fellow artistes who lent their voices to the concert

"Everyone felt that the sincerity and warmth of the concert’s atmosphere illuminated the power of love."

It was truly a heartwarming sight to see many generous hearts coming forward to support this charity concert and the many international talents such as Meng Ting Wei, The Nanfang Duet, Nick Shen and Joanna Dong, who lent their voices for this charitable cause.