The Bridal Lament by Rainbow Chan

by | May 17, 2024

By George Dixon

The term Bridal Lament seems to be a contradiction of terms. Weddings are a happy event, while a Lament is an expression of deep sorrow and complaining.

In times past, in countries like ancient Hong Kong, when arranged marriages took place by parents or even through matchmakers, tradition allows the bride to express her sorrow and complain to her parents about the choice of a husband she has never met. A husband that, in most cases, will take the bride away from her village, family, and friends. In many cases, it was as if the bride had died.

The bride is supported by the women of the village, as a series of laments are conducted over three days of bridal preparation.

Rainbow Chan takes us on a journey as an overview of this ritual in a way that is like the echo of the ancient language and songs, returning to its original source and reverberating back to the audience of today.

The artistry, language and understanding are wonderful and bring honour and meaning to the language of the originators.

The melding of tradition with art-pop original Chan songs, techno lighting and 3D-like moving images with dance adds a modern depth that indicates that time has moved on, while the songs, meaning and traditional ways are not forgotten.

This 70-minute one-person production is spellbinding, full of energy and constant movement -other than the narration – explaining the aspects of each lament and the meaning of various stages of the bridal process. The production is easy to follow, including an English translation of the lyrics projected onto the back screen.

Tessa Leong, Director, provides a very smooth transition between each segment and element of this production; considering that Chan is on stage for the entire performance, the collaboration between performer and directions plays an integral part of the overall experience.

Rel Pham Visuals and Graphic Design has produced an amazing array of lifelike traditional elements like koi fish and eels.

Chan, 2022 “Artist of the Year” FBi SMAC Awards, is an accomplished award-winning vocalist, producer, multi-disciplinary artist, and songwriter. It is clear that this production also has the added dimension of a labour of love and respect for her heritage.

This is a personal journey that we are privileged to hear and share. It’s high production standards and values will delight the audience while presenting a slice of historical tradition in a way that is entertaining and enlightening.

Image: Sarah Walker

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