It is said that music is a universal language and can unite people and the world. This couldn't be more true for the Hong Kong Protest. The movement has been going on for over six months and during this period, the protestors have been united by a core belief, and a song - Glory to Hong Kong.
Glory to Hong Kong is composed by an anonymous musician called Thomas dgx yhl. It is a classical based tune, referencing national anthems from UK, USA, Russia, Glory to God, and The Battle Hymn of the Republic etc. The lyrics reflect the battle Hong Kong is going through, how basic human rights such are freedom, equality and justice are slowly being eroded. It talks about the struggle, anger and tears of the people, and their refusal to be silenced and suppressed. It ends with the Hong Kongers fighting towards a brighter future and liberating Hong Kong. It took two months to write the song, and was first released on YouTube on 31 August.
The song quickly became viral. Over the next few days people could be seen gathering at the local shopping malls all over Hong Kong in the evening singing the song. Many different versions quickly followed including this official orchestra version, produced by 150 artists.
Denise Ho is a Hong Kong singer, an activist and a staunch supporter of the Protest. She is one of the few artist from Hong Kong to publicly declare her support for democracy and human rights, choosing that over the lucrative income she could have earned from performing in China. In July 2019, she spoke at the United Nations Human Right Council about the situation in Hong Kong. On 11th October, she performed live in London. Many of my friends attended her concert which literally bought the house down when a young boy played Glory to Hong Kong by violin, followed by her rendition of the song.
On 24th October, a busker was performing in Central. He was harassed by the police when four of them stood around him trying to stop him singing Glory to Hong Kong because an anti democracy man (the guy in glasses in white with a black rucksack) called the police to complain. Busking is legal in Hong Kong.
Glory to Hong Kong is not only popular in Hong Kong, it has also spread outside of the city, particularly to Taiwan where I am now. This is a Taiwanese version, performed by the Taiwan rock band, The Chairman in Taipei on 17th November. This was a massive concert in support of Hong Kong which sadly I missed because I was still in Thailand. The song starts at 1 minute 38 seconds.
I'm going to leave you with three more groups of videos for Glory to Hong Kong. The foreign language versions, different genre and instrument versions, and creative versions. There are quite a lot of videos in each group, each unique in their way. If you're a musician and like the song, you can download the music sheet here
My favourite versions are the Denise Ho version, the orchestra version version, the be water version, guitar version and the sign language version..
Music is a very powerful thing. It can make you happy, it can make you cry, it can give you power and strength, and it can communicate when you don't know what to say. I hope you will listen to at least one of these versions of Glory to Hong Kong as it is a beautiful song. It still brings tears to my eyes every time I listen to it.
I'd be very interested to hear what you think of it and which is your favourite version. Please do drop me a comment below.
The foreign language versions include English, German, French, Catalan, Japanese and Korean.
English version by Three Dog Hall in collaboration with Le Quartier Français for The Wairarapa Academy for New Sinology, New Zealand
Hatsune Japanese version
In this group, there's also a Rhapsody piano version, and solo performance with the violin, piano, harp, cello, and guitar.
Violin version, performed by a 9 year old during the 8th December march attended by 80 thousand people
Rock guitar version, created by a musician from China posted by his friend to protect his identity
Hong Kongers are not only full of passion and determination. They are also very creative. Music doesn't have to be created by instruments, they can be created with water, calculators, and minecraft. And finally, the last two videos I want to introduce you to are very special. One is a sign language one and the other uses lego to create various scenes from the protest.
Sign language version, this is a very touching version performed by 59 people including some who are deaf, classical music performers and children
Be water version, Be Water has been used to describe the Hong Kong Protest. Water has no shape or form, it is flexible and can change and adapt to the environment. This is how the Hong Kong Protest has strived and survived, and how its spirit will continue.