Earlier this February, Hong Kong singer-songwriters Ivana Wong and Hins Cheung celebrated their long-lasting friendship in their first collaborative concert The Magical Teeter Totter 2017
. Inspired by Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
, the concert's spin-off album The Whimsical Voyage
takes them on a creative journey into each other's music worlds.
Ivana takes the bolder step to elevate Hins's songs to a higher artistic level. One of the most important songs in Hins's music career is his debut song My Way, an encouraging R&B jam about the singer's growth and future. To echo the pivotal theme of "I will find my way / I want a different way," Ivana sings in a totally different way. She soothingly croons about Hins's story in her bossa nova remake (Track 1), which brings peace and calm to those struggling with unknown futures. The muted trumpet, tranquil piano and bluesy guitar tunes finish off the song with an attractive jazzy vibe. In 2007, Hins notched up enormous success with the massive hit "Ardently Love," which helped him establish a cool bad-boy style that was rarely seen in his previously ballads. Departing from the original R&B style, Ivana emphasizes the song's deep depression and disgust in her dark, moody reinterpretation (Track 3). Carried by the songstress's emotional vocals, the song builds up feelings of anxiety after a quiet yet mysterious piano opening. It reaches a climax filled with manic drumbeats and ends with a frantic guitar flourish.
Hins is drastically eclipsed by Ivana in terms of creativity, but he is undoubtedly a better storyteller than Ivana thanks to his highly evocative vocals. Collected in Ivana's 2011 album The Songbird Anthology, "Love You Next Time" gracefully conveys a mixed feeling of helplessness, sorrow, loneliness and pain in a regretful romantic relationship. Largely sticking to the original's arrangement, Hins skillfully reflects the song's sadness in his version (Track 2) by adding a melancholic bamboo flute accompaniment with a touch of classical Chinese music. Hins also covers Ivana's "Good Timing," which is a very calm song about the gratefulness of finding a true love. Adopting a different approach, Hins highlights the bitterness of the protagonist's painful experiences of love in his stirring reinterpretation (Track 4). His incredibly wide vocal range is also well exhibited, notably in the bridge and the end.
Ivana and Hins play to their strengths and uncover the hidden sentiments of the originals through their remakes. Though many fans complained about the lack of new songs, The Whimsical Voyage is still an awesome album that allows the two musicians to share their unique musical chemistry and cast a new look at each other's music.