Late diva Chang Loo to be buried in Shanghai grave she chose

PUBLISHED : Friday, 30 January, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 30 January, 2009, 12:00am

The sons of mainland-born diva Chang Loo, who died on Monday in Ruttonjee Hospital, said yesterday they would hold a press conference next week but did not indicate the purpose of the event.

Orlando To and his younger brother, Alex, visited the hospital yesterday afternoon to make arrangements. Alex To said the family was busy working out details of the funeral for their mother, who would be buried in Shanghai at a spot she selected a couple of years ago.

Chang, 76, was admitted to the hospital on Saturday and died on Monday afternoon of organ failure.

Born in Suzhou in 1932, Chang moved to Shanghai with her family when she was young. In the mid-1940s, a neighbour who was a broadcaster recommended, after hearing her sing, that she perform at a local radio station. She began singing covers of famous songs by her idol, Zhou Xuan. 'I had to sing her songs. She was such a big star. She was not just a singer - she was a movie star,' Chang said in an interview with the Post Magazine in 2003.

In the late 1940s, Chang, who signed with EMI, released a string of hits that cemented her position as a diva of the new generation.

Music industry veteran Chan Fai-hung, a former executive of EMI responsible for the label's 2003 release Shanghai Divas, which included songs by Chang, said the late star was a cheerful person whose upbeat personality was reflected in her music.

'Chang, together with other singers from the 1930s and '40s, were the pioneers of contemporary Chinese pop music,' Mr Chan said. 'They not only performed in Mandarin but they also sang in English, bringing in jazz and swing music to this part of the world.' One of Chang's best known songs, loosely translated as Give Me A Kiss, was a Mandarin cover of the much recorded Seven Lonely Days.

Chang moved to Hong Kong in 1952 and married musician Ollie Delfino in the late 1950s, after which Orlando and Alex were born. She retired in 1975, immigrated to Canada in the 1980s, but returned when Alex decided to stay in Hong Kong after winning TVB's New Talent Singing Awards in the mid-1980s. She had a quiet retirement, occasionally appearing in public to perform with her sons.