In the 1980s, a powerful artistic movement was born in Singapore, flourishing amongst the Mandarin-speaking community throughout the island and beyond our shores, leaving an indelible mark on the culture of a young nation.
The Songs We Sang, a documentary by Singapore filmmaker Eva Tang, is a vivid and in-depth look into the journey of xinyao (literally “songs composed by Singapore Youths” in Mandarin) since its birth. Steeped in history and authenticity, this detailed documentary captures the spirit of a Singapore culture that has since become a significant part of a nation’s collective cultural heritage.
Xinyao emerged from the hearts of students across campuses in Singapore, and soon found its way into the heartlands, capturing the attention of a nation with its tuneful melodies and elegant and meaningful lyrics about family, friendship and everyday life. Taking its title from a pivotal seminar on xinyao held by the Mandarin student publication Nanyang Students in 1982, The Songs We Sang is infused with the energy, enthusiasm and creative courage of xinyao and its artists, and looks towards future generations of artists who will colour Singapore’s cultural tapestry.